News about Marcellus Shale

Regional Visitors Hope to Facilitate European Import of Marcellus Gas

Strittmatter discusses ShaleNET's successes in workforce development.

Guests mingle with their hosts before boarding their coach back to Washington, D.C.

Daniel R. Mendell, ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor, explains the virtual-reality world of wellfield training simulation, through which miscues can be ascertained and corrected ... without costly consequences.

Parties interested in the international export of natural gas included Penn College in a fact-finding visit to the region this week. Meeting with ShaleNET personnel in the college’s Thompson Professional Development Center were representatives of LNG Allies Inc., a nonprofit research and advocacy group; the American Petroleum Institute; Anadarko Petroleum; the embassies of Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia; and the European Parliament Liaison Office. While on campus, the working group heard presentations from Robert Montgomery, Anadarko’s production engineering manager for the Appalachian Basin; John F. Strittmatter, director of the ShaleNET U.S. Regional Hub; Diane H. Bubb, ShaleNET U.S. case manager; and David Yoxtheimer, an extension associate with the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. The coalition’s two-day stay also featured a breakfast meeting with the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, as well as tours of the Panda Patriot power plant in Clinton Township and the Energy Transfer Partners compressor station along Route 87.

Short-Term Training Scheduled at Penn College

Openings remain for a 15-day Ready-to-Work Field Service Worker and Roustabout Training program offered through Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The short-term, full-time training – which runs from July 6-26 – prepares participants to work in the following industry sectors: energy, construction, warehousing/logistics and manufacturing. Students experience classroom and hands-on learning by instructors with real-world work experience.

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Short-Term Roustabout Training Scheduled at Penn College

Openings remain for a 15-day Ready-to-Work Field Service Worker and Roustabout Training program offered through Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The short-term, full-time training – which runs from May 23 to June 14 – prepares participants to work in the following industry sectors: energy, construction, warehousing/logistics and manufacturing. Students undergo classroom and hands-on learning from instructors with real-world work experience.

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International Guests Assess College’s Role in Gas Industry

Visitors from China listen to Daniel R. Mendell, ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor ...

...and gather with their Penn College hosts in the lobby of the BWD.

A delegation from China visited Penn College on Wednesday, beginning with a presentation about the programs – credit and noncredit – that help feed the natural gas industry. Representing the Petrochina Huabei Oilfield Co., Huangding Energy Services and Henen Polytech University, the 12-member group toured the wellsite training facility and mechatronics lab in the Center for Business & Workforce Development, and the machining and welding labs in the School of Industrial & Engineering Technologies. The contingent also met for several hours with Thomas B. Murphy, extension educator and co-director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. Following lunch at Lycoming College, the group explored instructional space at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center and the wellfield simulation at the Energy Technology Education Center.
Photos provided

North American Delegation Explores Shale Development

The group talks about shale policy and regulation with John Ryder, director of the Bureau of District Oil & Gas Operations for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Visitors, representing commissioners and staff from New Brunswick and the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Panel gather with Thomas B. Murphy, director of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. (Also helping to host the group was David C. Pistner, director of special projects for Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College.)

A group of Canadian commissioners and panel members from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador visited Penn College and regional gas-related sites on Monday and Tuesday to meet with key stakeholders on the workforce, economic, legislative and regulatory impacts of shale development.  The delegation met with Penn State, Penn College Workforce Development & Continuing Education, county and state representatives on Monday, followed by regional tours to see shale gas operations.

State Legislator Gets to Know Penn College During Campus Visit

Sens. Vogel (center) and Yaw (right) talk with David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies, in the college's welding laboratory.

Brass candlesticks pique the lawmakers' interest during a stop in the automated manufacturing lab.

Vogel gets behind the wheel of a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Victoria, powered by a Lycoming engine and being restored by Penn College students – including Ian M. Bachleda, of Schaefferstown – for the William E. Swigart Jr. Automobile Museum in Huntingdon.

State Sen. Elder Vogel Jr., whose 47th District encompasses Lawrence County and parts of Beaver and Butler counties, got acquainted with Penn College during a tour of main campus Wednesday afternoon. A legislator since 2009, Vogel chairs the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, and is a member of the Appropriations, Banking & Insurance, Communications & Technology, Environmental Resources & Energy, Local Government, and Majority Policy committees. Accompanied by state Sen. Gene Yaw (chairman of the college’s board of directors) and members of the administration, among others, Vogel got a close look at instructional areas for welding, automated manufacturing, collision repair, automotive restoration, and mechatronics. He also visited a natural gas wellhead used by ShaleNET U.S. in the Center for Business & Workforce Development.

College Co-Hosts Recruitment Event for Potential CDL Students

Pamela Mix, secretary to the ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, takes the wheel of the simulator.

Friendly greeters (from left) are Jim Patterson, CTS director; Carla Rhone, program support specialist, Shale TEC; and Hadly Ransom, intensive workforce specialist, PA CareerLink Lycoming County.

CTS' simulator, inside a trailer parked outside, awaits Open House attendees.

Kevin Cromley and Kathy Pentz, local CTS instructors for Penn College CDL classes

A CDL Open House, held Thursday to attract students into Penn College’s Commercial Driver’s License program, was co-hosted at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center by Workforce Development & Continuing Education and the Center for Transportation Safety. CTS brought a simulated rig to the event so that potential students could experience driving a tractor-trailer; a skid steer was also on hand to let participants practice vehicle control. WDCE, which contracts with CTS to provide CDL Class A training at the college’s Energy Technology Education Center site along Route 15 near Allenwood, hopes to add Class B and CDL Refresher Safe Driving courses to its portfolio.
Photos by Pamela Mix and Hadly Ransom

NPR Correspondent’s Visit Yields Second Story on Natural Gas Career Opportunities

Claire E. Kerstetter: ETEC-trained, wellfield-employed

A second National Public Radio report to emerge from a national correspondent’s recent visit – a three-and-a-half-minute piece on women’s increasing accessibility to energy jobs – aired Friday on “All Things Considered.” Jeff Brady’s “Oil Companies Look to Fill Employment Gap With More Women” includes interviews with Stephanie M. Puckly, a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Spartansburg; Claire E. Kerstetter, of Lock Haven, who completed short-term training at Penn College’s Energy Technology Education Center; and college President Davie Jane Gilmour. (The latter two are also featured in the story’s print version.)

Bulgarians’ Fact-Finding Tour Includes Stop at College, Regional Sites

Regional authorities on the environmental/regulatory, county planning and community impacts of oil and gas operations share insights in a pre-lunch session.

Outside the Thompson Professional Development Center, the group pauses with Thomas B. Murphy (back row, second from right), Penn State Extension educator and co-director of Penn State’s Marcellus Center of Outreach and Research; and David C. Pistner (back row, right), director of special projects for Workforce Development & Continuing Education.

A Bulgarian delegation, fresh from a conference in Houston, visited Penn College and regional gas-related sites on Friday to continue its discussion of shale-energy development in the United States. The group is meeting with key stakeholder voices on the workforce, economic, legislative and regulatory impacts of shale development, and included a college stopover in its firsthand assessment. Comprising the group were Delian Dobrev, chair of the Energy Committee in Parliament, former minister of energy and close contact of the prime minister; Zhecho Stankov, deputy minister of energy; Delian Dimitrov, member of the Board of Directors of Bulgartransgaz (gas system operator of Bulgaria); Nikolai Nikolov, Ministry of Energy; and American Embassy representatives Emily Taneva and Sally Behrhorst.

ShaleNET Success Shared at Congressional Hearing on Energy Workforce

Tracy L. Brundage testifies in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The college's vice president for workforce development is greeted by U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, of Illinois, the panel's ranking Democrat.

Brundage is joined in the hearing room by U.S. Rep Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chair of the subcommittee.

Penn College’s vice president for workforce development testified in Washington, D.C., this week on behalf of improved education and training in energy and related industries. Tracy L. Brundage appeared Thursday before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which is examining legislative language to create a 21st-century energy and manufacturing workforce. Referencing the success of the college’s award-winning ShaleNET partnership, which responded to the industry’s call for trained employees, Brundage said an educational infrastructure – built from a cross-section of public and private interests – is among the innovative solutions necessary to meet challenges. “ShaleNET is a best-practice model that can be deployed and implemented in other areas because the curriculum is competency-based, developed with input from industry, consistent, easily replicated and flexible dependent upon industry needs,” she said. “The success of ShaleNET is a direct result of strong partnerships with employers and trade associations, Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stops, economic development agencies such as the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and local governments who share a common desire to place qualified candidates with employers in family-sustaining careers.”
Photos provided

Penn College Focus of NPR Story on Marcellus Training

National Public Radio

NPR spotlights college's role in shale careers.

Penn College’s role in training workers for the natural gas industry is featured in a report that aired on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” (and affiliate stations) on Monday. Jeff Brady, a national correspondent for NPR who recently visited campus, talked with Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development at the college; onsite power generation student William N. Miller, of Hallstead; and others for a four-minute piece headlined, “In Pennsylvania, Employment Booms Amid Oil And Natural Gas Bust.”

Impact Fees to Fund $15,000 in Regional ShaleNET Scholarships

Pennsylvania College of Technology will provide $15,000 in ShaleNET scholarships to veterans, unemployed and underemployed residents of Bradford County.

The scholarships are made possible by Act 13 funding – fees levied on each gas well drilled in the Marcellus Shale formation – recently approved by the Bradford County Commissioners.

In an agreement similar to those enacted for residents of Lycoming and Tioga counties, Penn College will offer tuition-free training – $1,000 for each of 15 qualified Bradford County students – to provide the basic skills and certifications required for entry-level employment in the oil and natural gas industry.

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Penn College Has Seat at Roundtable on Value of Apprenticeships

Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development at Penn College, speaks with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez during a Dec. 11 Philadelphia visit.

Three representatives of Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology were on hand when the U.S. Department of Labor recently made available $100 million in grant funding for apprenticeships.

Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; John F. Strittmatter, ShaleNET U.S. regional hub director; and David C. Pistner, director of energy initiatives, attended the Dec. 11 announcement in the Philadelphia School District by Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.

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Ground-Stabilization Equipment Demonstrated at College Training Site

Paul Godridge, a design engineer with Faun Trackway, talks hydraulics outside the training site's classroom.

Formation of the access surface begins with placing the Trackway – interlocking aluminum panels – beneath the wheels of a front-end loader.

Unspooling as the vehicle moves forward, about 40 meters of temporary roadway is laid in minutes ...

... providing industry representatives with sturdy footing amid sloppy surroundings.

One of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and providers of portable access solutions brought military-tested technology to the civilian front at Penn College on Thursday, demonstrating its product for a group of industry representatives at the college’s riverside training grounds in Montgomery. Faun Trackway USA brought along its Medium Ground Mobility System-Beam Dispenser Lite, which it hopes will appeal to oil, gas, timber and mining interests. Mounted onto a business’s existing equipment, the product lays down an operational and environmentally sensitive roadway that allows work crews to access remote areas where conditions and maneuverability pose a challenge. Following remarks by David C. Pistner, director of energy initiatives for Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College, and Michael Holdcraft, vice president of Faun Trackway USA, the group watched the product at work across a muddy field at the operations site – also used by heavy construction equipment students from the college’s nearby Schneebeli Earth Science Center. The visit was facilitated by the Shale Training & Education Center at Penn College.

Industrious Dozen Graduate in Latest ShaleNET Roustabout Class

From left are alumni Jacob A. Smith and Louis Camphor Jr.; new graduate Christopher J. Gundlach, Williamsport; alumna Amy L. Gallagher; new graduates Celestine T. Adukwe, Philadelphia; James E. Eisenhauer, Lock Haven (who is also a '84 alumnus of the college's welding major); Matthew R. Genzel, Hamburg, New York; Ryan B. Kreger, Morris; Felicia A. Burks, Williamsport; Emeka O. Mgbemena, Sicklerville, New Jersey; Corey A. Shimmel, Lock Haven; Christopher Williams, Montoursville; Brandon H. St. Martin, Williamsport; Roberts Kovalonoks, Wurtsboro, New York; and Edward K. McGrane Jr., Pittsburgh; Rex E. Moore, ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor; Commissioner Jeff Wheeland; Dan R. Mendell, ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor II; and John F. Strittmatter, ShaleNET U.S. regional hub director. Adukwe and Mgbemena are originally from Nigeria, Kovalonoks is from Latvia, and St. Martin hails from Texas.

New grad Edward K. McGrane Jr. with his parents and sister, who drove in from Pittsburgh for the ceremony.

Graduate Christopher Williams describes himself as a "recovering attorney;" he worked as a lawyer for 13 years and quit to focus on training as he wanted to work in the gas industry.

John F, Strittmatter (left) addresses the crowd in the ETEC pavilion, where hot coffee took the edge off the late-October chill.

A retired airline employee now working for Halliburton, Louis Camphor Jr. is going strong at age 67. The ShaleNET alumnus, who points to a lifetime of work as an incentive to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was one of three past graduates returning to inspire their successors.

Twelve students graduated Friday morning in the latest natural gas roustabout class to be trained through ShaleNETs Eastern Hub at Penn College. The 11 men and one woman, with fascinating back stories ranging from law enforcement to dairy farming to experience as Russian linguists, were celebrated in a ceremony at the Energy Technology Education Center along Route 15 south of Williamsport. Three alumni of the program – Louis Camphor Jr., of Williamsport; Jacob A. Smith, of Montoursville; and Amy L. Gallagher, of Linden – returned to offer career insight and advice; they were joined by ShaleNET personnel and Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland. The graduates themselves also spoke, sharing pride in their accomplishments and excitement for the tasks ahead. More than 90 students have completed ShaleNET training since July 1, 2013, many of them (including military veterans) assisted by Act 13 Scholarships that were funded with impact fees.