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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Rex E. Moore, in blue hard hat, ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor, introduces his current class of potential natural gas industry employees.
Students in a three-week roustabout training program demonstrate a drilling rig.
Steven V. Nickell, director of ShaleTEC, talks about the center’s work with the state Fire Academy to train emergency responders.
Ash Khare, left, special assistant to the secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, talks with David C. Pistner, the college’s director of energy initiatives.
Nickell lights a prop.
Representatives from the state departments of Community and Economic Development and Labor and Industry visited Penn College on Thursday to tour the Energy Technology Education Center. The contingent is spending three days in central Pennsylvania counties as part of the Corbett Administration’s JOBS1st on the Road program. While here, officials are attending workshops, visiting business and touring communities to celebrate and see firsthand projects that are impacting the local economy. At ETEC, the group watched a drill-rig demonstration by students in a three-week roustabout-training course and several “props” at the course, suitable for training both potential gas-industry employees and emergency response crews.
Barely a week from field service, a newly sandblasted and painted wellhead arrives at the Center for Business & Workforce Development. Among those on hand for the special delivery are (at right) General Services custodian Jeff G. Rotoli; Daniel R. Mendell, ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor; and (in checkered shirt) John F. Strittmatter, director of the ShaleNET U.S. regional hub.
Facilities supervisor Barry L. Loner Jr. begins offloading the heavy cargo via lift truck.
A contingent of General Services workers guides one of the pieces to its destination on the south side of the BWD.
The assembled wellhead rises about 12 feet from the laboratory floor.
A full-size natural gas wellhead has been donated to ShaleNET U.S. and installed in an electronics and computer engineering technology classroom on Penn College’s main campus. A partnership of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and FMC Technologies resulted in Monday’s delivery to the college’s Center for Business & Workforce Development, where the equipment will be used by the ShaleNET U.S. regional hub in training for occupations in the oil and natural gas industry. Fully spruced up for instructional use, the wellhead arrived in five pieces: more than two tons of steel that, until recently, was at work in the field. After a requisite safety briefing, Penn College General Services and Allison Crane & Rigging assisted in the unloading, transport and assembly– a process that FMC’s John Amburgey called “big-boy Legos.” Watch PCToday for more on this most impressive and generous gift.
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, left, views a realistic training prop at ETEC with David C. Pistner, the college’s director of energy initiatives.
Daniel R. Mendell, right, a ShaleNET U.S. consultant/instructor, talks with Marino about a well-site simulator being set up with input from students in the electronics and computer engineering technology major. Seated is Patrick J. Reid, who is developing programmable logic controls for the simulator as part of his senior project.
From left, John F. Strittmatter, director of the ShaleNET U.S. regional hub; Alice M. Schuster, project director for ShaleNET U.S.; Marino; and Pistner.
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino visited Penn College on Wednesday to learn more about the college’s workforce preparation for gas industry-related jobs. The 10th District Republican spoke with employees in Workforce Development & Continuing Education, toured the Energy Technology Education Center, and looked at an electronics and computer engineering technology lab where students are helping to set up a simulated well site. Marino is a 1983 graduate of Penn College’s forerunner, Williamsport Area Community College.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett made a Tuesday visit to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood, where – surrounded by the workforce of tomorrow, embodied by diesel technology and on-site power generation majors – he presented a 73-page resource guide designed to attract business and industry investors to the energy-rich commonwealth. “Whether from the well pad to the corner grocery store, the expansion of our energy sector has made Pennsylvanians better off and made us the vanguard of American energy independence,” the first-term Republican told an audience of students, college employees and the media. “This is an ‘all of the above and below’ strategy. It endorses every path, from gas wells running a mile below the earth to wind power high above.” The governor, joined by area legislators and state Labor and Industry Secretary Julia K. Hearthway, also toured the Energy Technology Education Center along nearby Route 15, a collaborative provider of hands-on training to emergency responders and to new and incumbent workers in the natural gas field.
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Jeannette F. Carter, director of Outreach for K-12, discusses the opportunities for cooperation between industry and education.
Robert A. Roush, of the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp., addresses the Workforce Investment Board’s responsiveness to industry needs.
Education and training partners within the ShaleNET Eastern Region recently met on Penn College’s main campus for an update on developments in the collaborative workforce- and community-development initiative centered around opportunities in the natural gas industry. A variety of speakers and presentations marked the Dec. 5 event, held in the Thompson Professional Development Center, covering topics that included future grant-funded career training activities and outreach to secondary and postsecondary institutions.
Photos by Craig R. Urey, student photographer
Penn College’s role in training workers for the natural gas industry – credit and noncredit programs, the collaborative ShaleNET consortium and the Energy Technology Education Center south of Williamsport – drew prominent mention in The Philadelphia Inquirer over the weekend. The article, headlined “Students Get Crash Course in Shale Industry,” is on the front page of the business section in Sunday’s print edition and was posted to the newspaper’s website.
The National Council for Workforce Education recently honored a ShaleNET job-training program in which Pennsylvania College of Technology played a key role along with grant recipient Westmoreland County Community College and additional partners.
As part of its 2013 Exemplary Program Awards, NCWE honored ShaleNET with a Noncredit Workforce Development Program Award. The award was presented at NCWE’s 2013 annual conference in Milwaukee.
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A 35-ton crane maneuvers equipment into place.
Crew members erect the substructure of the rig trainer.
Under the shimmering summer sun, the derrick is hoisted for installation.
The Energy Technology Education Center has enhanced the hands-on training opportunities available to new and incumbent workers in the natural gas field, installing a drilling rig Monday that replicates equipment and conditions at a working well site. While many training facilities have simulators, ETEC’s steel training rig − purchased from Arkansas State University through a ShaleNET U.S. grant − is one of just three in the entire country and the only one in the Appalachian Basin. Drill pipe can be connected and dropped down the wellbore, which is cased and cemented, providing trainees with a safe and educational environment in which to learn what (and what not to do) on a functioning rig. ETEC, dedicated in May 2012 near the entrance to Penn College’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center south of Williamsport, is a collaborative venture to train industry employees and emergency responders.
With Act 13 (impact fee) funding recently approved by the Lycoming County Commissioners, Pennsylvania College of Technology will provide $50,000 in ShaleNET scholarships to 50 veterans, unemployed and underemployed residents of the county.
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 will lead to employment in the occupations of roustabout, floorhand, completion technician and welder helper.
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Michael A. Forgione has been hired as director for the ShaleNET Eastern Region Hub based at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
ShaleNET is a federally funded consortium initiative that develops and standardizes credit and noncredit education and training programs to serve high-demand occupations in the oil and natural gas industry.
Last fall, Penn College was awarded a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to lead an effort to expand ShaleNET’s reach geographically and to implement a “stackable credentials” model for the industry that features foundational skills, entry-level certifications, certificate programs, associate degrees and a bachelor’s degree.
Forgione has worked in the oil and gas industry for 29 years. Since 2011, he has been an independent contractor providing oil and gas education and training, as well as technical and leasing consultation services.
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PCToday continues its regular feature – welcoming new full-time and regular part-time Pennsylvania College of Technology employees, as reported by the Human Resources Office.
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A participant visits the Shale Training & Education Center display in an outer hallway.
Steve Hobbs, of Leister Process Technologies, was among the industry speakers.
Attentive attendees absorb a full day of presentations.
Participants hear from Environmental Protection Agency scientist Jeanne Briskin (who joined the meeting via teleconference) about the EPA’s study into the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.
Nearly 90 industry representatives convened at Penn College this week for a short course on Environmental Protection in Shale Oil and Gas Development. Held in Penn College’s Klump Academic Center Auditorium, the course was hosted by the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute and the University of Illinois. Among speakers were Tracy L. Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development, who summarized the college’s training activities. On Friday, Rex E. Moore, director of the ShaleNET Eastern Region Hub, joined FGI vendors at the college’s Energy Technology and Education Center to conduct geomembrane welding activities. The group also learned about recycling the membranes, which are used at well pads.
Most photos by Marc T. Kaylor, student photographer