ShaleNET Partnership Receives National Honor

Published 11.01.2013

Workforce Development

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.

From left, Barbara Bang, National Council for Workforce Education vice president for communications and dean of the technologies and services division at North Dakota State College of Science; Patrick Gerity, vice president for continuing education, workforce and community education at Westmoreland County Community College; Tracy Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development at Penn College; and Theresa Bryant, NCWE president and vice president for workforce development at Tidewater Community College.Patrick Gerity, vice president for continuing education, workforce and community education at Westmoreland County Community College, and Tracy Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development at Penn College, accepted the award and presented on the initiative.

“We are very pleased that ShaleNET was recognized for the NCWE 2013 noncredit exemplary program award,” Brundage said. “This is a prestigious honor for ShaleNET and really represents the vision, hard work and commitment to the overall program’s mission of ‘linking talent to opportunity.’”

“The overall reach/impact of this program far surpasses what the original collaborators of the grant had imagined,” she added. “Our success is a testament to what can be accomplished when industry, the public workforce system and training partners work together to improve the economic well-being of a region and its residents.”

ShaleNET was launched in 2010 with a $4.964 million Community Based Job Training grant awarded to Westmoreland County Community College by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Penn College, the Allegheny Conference for Community Development and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association were the other partners in the grant-funded program.

The original intent of ShaleNET was to respond quickly to natural gas industry needs by creating an efficient entry-level training program featuring five high-demand occupations. The original grant ended June 30, exceeding all of its benchmarks and goals. The ShaleNET Talent Matching System educated 14,800 individuals on the benefits of entry-level jobs in the natural gas industry.

Through the grant, 978 individuals, including veterans, the unemployed and underemployed, completed training and attained up to five industry-recognized certifications. More than 3,400 found employment through June. Eighty-two percent are still employed almost one year after placement.

In October 2012, ShaleNET received a follow-on on grant of $14.96 million awarded to Penn College through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program. Unlike the original grant, which covered the cost of instruction, the second ShaleNET grant focuses on building capacity. It expands the capacity of ShaleNET geographically and incorporates a new stackable-credential model.

The new ShaleNET grant expands the partnership to include Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas; Stark State College, Canton, Ohio; and key employers including Chevron, Shell, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy, XTO and Encana.

Building upon the original ShaleNET training model, the stackable-credential model allows multiple entry and exit points to those seeking an education. Four new certificates and two new associate-degree programs have been added, culminating, if desired, in a bachelor’s degree.

The National Council for Workforce Education is committed to promoting excellence and growth in workforce education. As an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges, NCWE provides a national forum for administrators and faculty in workforce education and basic skills – as well as representatives from business, labor, military and government – to direct the future role of two-year and other postsecondary institutions in workforce education and economic development.

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