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.”
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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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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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.
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.
As part of its $20 million Appalachia Partnership Initiative, Chevron Corp. will provide $60,000 for scholarships to the four colleges in the ShaleNET grant consortium, including Pennsylvania College of Technology.
ShaleNET features participation from Penn College, the grant administrator; Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood; Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas; and Stark State College, Canton, Ohio. Key employers participating in ShaleNET include Chevron, Shell, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy, XTO and Encana.
Penn College will use $9,000 of $15,000 provided by Chevron to offer scholarships for Roustabout training that prepares participants for entry-level careers in the natural gas industry. The remaining $6,000 will be designated for scholarship assistance to students enrolled in the college’s mechatronics engineering technology associate-degree major, which integrates electrical, mechanical and computer engineering into one field, offering various options for careers in manufacturing and the natural gas industry.
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Pennsylvania College of Technology will provide $50,000 in ShaleNET scholarships to 50 veterans, unemployed and underemployed residents of Tioga County.
The scholarships are made possible by Act 13 (impact fee) funding approved recently by the Tioga County Commissioners.
The college will offer tuition-free training – $1,000 per student – to provide the basic skills and certifications required for entry-level employment in the oil and natural gas industry. Classes may lead to employment in the occupations of roustabout, floorhand, completion technician and welder helper. The short-term, noncredit, certificate-awarding program trains residents in three primary skill areas identified by employers as critical to successful employment: job readiness, workplace and environmental safety, and technical awareness.
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Penn State President Eric J. Barron traveled to Pennsylvania College of Technology on Tuesday, his first visit since assuming the presidency in May. In a timely trip to a main campus observing its 25th anniversary as a special mission affiliate of Penn State – as well as its yearlong Centennial celebration – Barron met with students, viewed three recent art installations, toured Madigan Library and student housing, explored the college’s role in the natural gas industry, and visited a variety of instructional labs. Joining Barron and his wife, Molly, on the tour were Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour; retired Penn College Board of Directors Chairman Robert E. Dunham and his wife, Maureen; Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs and provost; and police Chief Chris E. Miller. A reception in the Victorian House and dinner at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, where the group was joined by state Sen. Gene Yaw, board chairman, followed.
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Christopher J. Legarski, a knowledge engineer with Discovery Machine Inc., outlines an immersive training tool that simulates the real world of wellfield tank-servicing. The module allows an employee to follow a prescribed procedure, step by crucial step, within the safety of an artificial environment.
Hub director John F. Strittmatter (left) with one of the day’s key speakers, Peter Rozelle, from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, Division of Advanced Energy Systems …
… and leading a tour of the full-size natural gas wellhead donated to ShaleNET U.S.
The projected longevity of shale development is tracked by James R. Ladlee, associate director of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.
Partners within ShaleNET’s Eastern Region Hub gathered at Penn College on Wednesday for a variety of presentations and wide-ranging discussion of educational and occupational trends in the natural gas field. A number of industry representatives were on hand for the meeting, which was held in the Thompson Professional Development Center and included a video of student testimonials from a recent “roustabout” graduation. The daylong session concluded with a tour of the consortium’s well-site trainer and the college’s mechatronics lab, both in the Center for Business & Workforce Development.
Welding students Daniel J. Peppernick, left, of Spring Run (welding and fabrication engineering technology) and Teague W. Ohl, of Cogan Station (welding technology) help visitors to use a virtual reality welding simulator.
Rex E. Moore, ShaleNET U.S. consultant and instructor, talks with a visitor.
Joseph P. Hanstine, of Lakewood, maneuvers the bucket under a PVC cage to pull a sled without knocking either the soccer ball from the sled or the tennis balls from the cage.
Sheldon N. Smith, of Harleysville, carefully places a pipe.
August graduate Ashley M. Baker, of Coudersport, plucks a soccer ball from its perch on a traffic cone.
Penn College was among participants in Saturday’s PA Energy Games at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds. The event featured educational exhibits, a heavy equipment rodeo, panel discussions and musical performances. The college was well-represented at Hughesville, with three student teams enrolled in heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis competing in a heavy equipment rodeo with industry representatives. In addition, David C. Pistner, director of energy initiatives for the college’s Workforce Development & Continuing Education, moderated a question-and-answer session on Education & Training. In the exhibit hall, Penn College employees and students staffed a busy booth with information about the college’s ShaleNET initiatives and its welding; heating, ventilation & air conditioning; and building sciences majors.
Ground broken for Pennsylvania’s second shale-gas power plant
Gov. Tom Corbett speaks at the groundbreaking for Panda Power Funds’ Patriot Energy Center in Clinton Township. Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour served as emcee for the event.
Ceremonially breaking ground Tuesday morning for Panda Power Funds’ Patriot Energy Center in Clinton Township, Lycoming County, are (from left in left photo): State Rep. Garth Everett, who serves on the Penn College Board; Gregory Snyder, vice president, region executive, Siemens Energy Inc.; Gov. Tom Corbett; William F. Griffin, CEO, Gemma Power Systems; state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the Penn College Board; Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour; and Todd W. Carter, president and senior partner, Panda Power Funds. The shale-gas power plant is expected to begin commercial operation by mid-2016 and power up to 1 million homes while contributing nearly $6 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.
from left, Mykola Avdeenko, cameraman; Ihor Chayka, producer; Thomas Murphy, Penn State Extension educator and co-director of Penn State’s Marcellus Center of Outreach and Research; and Vadym Storozhev, audio technician.
John F. Strittmatter, director of ShaleNet’s U.S. regional hub, is interviewed alongside student Amy L. Gallagher, of Linden.
A documentary crew from the Ukraine visited Penn College’s Energy Technology Education Center on July 29 to explore how training is provided for natural gas industry jobs. The documentary will explore shale development in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The American Embassy in Kiev provided a grant to one of Ukraine’s leading documentary producers, Ihor Chayka, to make a film on the U.S. experience with shale gas production. The documentary will be broadcast by a leading independent channel, ZIK TV, based in Lviv, Ukraine.
Photos by Greg Franklin
ShaleNET, a federally funded training program, recently received the Energy Leadership Award in Workforce Development at an annual awards ceremony sponsored by the Pittsburgh Business Times.
ShaleNET was launched in 2010 with a $4.96 million Community Based Job Training grant awarded to Westmoreland County Community College by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Pennsylvania College of Technology, the Allegheny Conference for Community Development and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association were the other partners in the original grant-funded program.
Accepting the award at a Business Times-hosted Energy Gala in Washington County were Patrick Gerity, vice president of continuing education, workforce and community development, Westmoreland County Community College, and Tracy L. Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development, Penn College.
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Pennsylvania College of Technology held a ceremony Friday at its Energy Technology Education Center to dedicate a drilling rig simulator that supports hands-on learning for the college’s natural gas training offerings.
The simulator was purchased with U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training funds. In addition, New Pig, of Tipton, donated a protective geosynthetic membrane that was installed beneath the rig simulator.
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Several ShaleNET certificate training offerings at Pennsylvania College of Technology have been approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans eligible under a VA training assistance program.
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