As the Marcellus and Utica Shale shale gas industry continues to boom local educators are moving fast to prepare students for today's job market.
Institutions such as Eastern Gateway Community College and Youngstown State University have developed programs geared toward training students to move into jobs associated with the shale industry.
''We're trying to meet that need by helping students learn the skills they need for those jobs,'' explained Ann Koon, Eastern Gateway's public information director.
For example, Eastern Gateway and Warren City officials recently announced a collaborative effort to bring the college's workforce gas training to the city. They plan to conduct a meeting this spring to present information about the college's pre-employment training for high-priority occupations targeted by the ShaleNET grant a federal funding program for training workers for jobs that are highest in demand in the industry. These jobs include general laborer (roughnecks and roustabouts), heavy equipment operators and commercial truck drivers, among others.
Through the ShaleNET grant Eastern Gateway's workforce development department is participating in workforce training, acting as a partner to the ShaleNET grant. Tracee Joltes, Eastern Gateway's assistant director of workforce development, explained part of this partnership calls for the college to coordinate gas training efforts with the career centers in the Mahoning Valley.
The funding allows the college to offer these initial classes to qualified applicants for free or at discounted rates.
The ShaleNET grant was launched in 2011 with a $4.96 million community-based job training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Eastern Gateway is the only college in Ohio participating in this grant program, Koon explained.
YSU recently announced the development of the Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute to also educate professionals for the emerging shale natural gas industry and provide research on the environmental impact of gas exploration. Ron Cole, YSU communications director, said the institute will provide bachelor's degree-level courses in science and engineering that will lead to an academic minor in gas technologies and also will provide research opportunities for industry focusing on analysis of water used in the shale gas extraction process.