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Marcellus Gas Workforce Issues Addressed by Partnership

Larry L. Michael outlines the day's agenda.The first meeting of the Marcellus Shale Industry Partnership, formed to address the natural-gas industry’s workforce needs in conjunction with the exploration of potential gas reserves within the region’s Marcellus Shale formation, was held Monday on Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main campus.

President Davie Jane Gilmour pledges institutional support.Representatives of the industry, including Anadarko Petroleum, Range Resources, Exco North Coast Energy, Chief Oil and Gas; the Marcellus Shale Committee, as well as several service companies such as Linde Co., Hart Resources, Larson Design and Union Drilling participated in this event.

They werejoined in the Thompson Professional Development Center’s Mountain Laurel Roomby higher-education officials and funding agencies to assess far-reaching workforce needs throughout the entire life-cycle of the Marcellus play.

Thomas B. MurphyPenn College President Davie Jane Gilmour welcomed attendees, noting that the college is well-positioned both in terms of employees and facilities to help the natural-gas industrymeet its workforce needs with homegrown talent as that exploration process evolves. Among others on hand were Larry L. Michael, executive director of workforce and economic development at Penn College, and Thomas B. Murphy, from Penn State Cooperative Extension, the college’s partner in the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center.

The session centered its efforts on completing a framework of the jobs and education levels that will be necessary for the industry to fully develop this natural resource in the region. According to Michael, the MSETC is taking a methodical approach to developing programs and training based on the specific needs of industry.

“This high level of interest that has been shown by the industry, as well as the educational institutions and state agencies, clearly shows that we are all in this for the long-term,” he said.

Central Pennsylvania and the Northern Tier regions are located in the heart of the Marcellus Shale play, and the region is expected to experience substantial economic growth over the next several years. That growth will result in numerous economic and workforce-development impacts, including community and workforce needs. Additional meetings for the partnership are tentatively scheduled for April and June.