Grant to Help Penn College Deliver Marcellus Shale Training

Published 07.22.2010


Federal grant funding totaling nearly $5 million will enable Pennsylvania College of Technology to serve as one of two regional hubs coordinating the delivery of job recruitment, training and placement services for the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry across several states.

Penn College and Westmoreland County Community College will lead a consortium of colleges and training organizations tasked with training qualified workers in 69 counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

The $4.964 million community-based job training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration the largest awarded nationally for this federal funding opportunity will allow for the creation of Marcellus ShaleNET, a comprehensive recruitment, training, placement and retention strategy for jobs in the gas industry.

Working with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA), the grant partners which include Penn College, WCCC and three other colleges, as well as various workforce investment boards created a network that will allow individual regions to respond quickly and flexibly to workforce needs.

"This type of partnership, involving government, industry and education, is important in meeting workforce needs," said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour. "The natural gas industry has the potential to significantly impact the future of our commonwealth and its citizens. So, it is important that Penn College be among the leading resources for advancing the skills of our workforce to respond to this growing industry."

The two hubs (Penn College and WCCC) will be responsible for assisting with the development of standardized curriculum, identifying training partners and distributing industry-approved courses for training and certification programs.

Through a talent-matching system to be implemented in Pennsylvania CareerLink centers, job seekers will be connected with gas industry vacancies. When matches are not found, job seekers will be referred to appropriate training programs.

The natural gas industry contends there presently aren't enough applicants with the specific skills needed to fill available positions in the industry in this region. Marcellus ShaleNET aims to help address the situation by developing a substantial pool of job seekers who are trained to industry standards.

The initial focus will be on recruiting and training low-income and dislocated workers, as well as military veterans, for in-demand positions such as derrick operators; rotary drill and service unit operators; roustabouts; welding and brazing operators; and truck drivers.

Other colleges participating in the consortium are West Virginia Northern Community College, Eastern Gateway Community College (Ohio) and Broome Community College (New York). Also participating are the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board and similar agencies in Ohio and West Virginia.

For more information about the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center at Penn College, call 570-327-4775 or visit online .

For more information about Penn College, a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7562 or through its Web portal.