Marcellus Shale: Homegrown Energy, Homegrown Jobs

Clean, affordable, safely-produced American natural gas is not only helping to lower taxes and energy bills, but it’s also providing our tremendous source of job and career opportunities for Pennsylvanians. In short, this historic opportunity is a job-creating, economy-boosting machine that’s Powering an American Renaissance.

Union, non-union, industry-based, or ancillary – the safe, responsible shale gas production is fueling a groundswell of jobs across the Commonwealth and beyond. This week, in fact, the Marcellus Shale Coalition partnered with labor unions throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, focused on identifying opportunities to continue to work closely together [click HERE view photos of that event on our Facebook page].

And in northeastern Pennsylvania, several of our member companies – including Cabot Oil & Gas and Chesapeake Energy Corp. – are working with Lackawanna College to help train students and equip them with the background these need for careers in the natural gas industry

Yesterday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review underscores the positive, job-creating impact of safe Marcellus Shale development, especially for local unions:

About 1,600 of the 30,000 laborers, pipefitters, electricians and operators in the Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council’s territory work for Marcellus or Utica shale natural gas producers, Pennsylvania produces about 10 percent of the nation’s gas supply, said Dave Spigelmyer, chairman of the [MSC]. The industry has created about 234,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, state figures show, and the coalition estimates 93 percent of recent hires are from the state or nearby states in the Appalachian Basin. Unions “are doing better on the west side (of the state) than the east side,” [Rich Stanizzo, Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council business manager and chairman of the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania] said, with pipeline companies such as MarkWest Energy Partners LP employing union workers. … “We’re getting more opportunities,” said Daniel Rains, general manager for business development, adding that while drilling has slowed, construction of infrastructure needed to transport and process gas remains strong.

Also this week, Wilkes-Barre’s WBRE-TV reports that Scranton-based Lackawanna College announced a new School of Petroleum and Natural Gas at its New Milford location, adding that the degree “helps narrow the center’s focus to something that’s important in the community.” We agree, and this from that news report:

Because of the Marcellus Shale Industry, College officials have decided to narrow the focus at their New Milford Campus and offer two associate of science degrees related to the industry. “These associate of science degrees that we have, focused only on petroleum and natural gas and compression are applicable to all the oil and gas fields in the [U]nited [S]tates, so these students can work in Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma.” said Ri[c]hard Marquardt, Executive Director of Lackawanna College. … A large majority of the college’s students, 70-percent, were already hired by gas companies right out of school because of their training.  “Our closest partners locally, like Cabot and Williams and Chesapeake and [T]alisman, they like the idea. They’re supportive of it. They’re involved in our curriculum.” noted Marquardt. … With the help of Cabot Oil & Gas, the school has even put together a promotional video to help market the new school of petroleum and natural gas.

E&E News also reports on Lackawanna College’s new natural gas training program:

Faculty for the school’s energy programs aim to train students for a small set of high-demand jobs in the nearby oil and gas fields. The college boasts a roughly 90 percent job placement rate for its 50-student classes, Marquardt said. Its petroleum and natural gas degrees, which started about five years ago, prepare students for work as well tenders and technicians who must be intimately familiar with the equipment that keeps oil and gas flowing to market for years after drilling rigs have departed. … In the case of Pennsylvania’s gas-rich Marcellus Shale, where most Lackawanna graduates go to work, jobs … could be around for 35 to 50 years, said Cabot spokesman George Stark. “As long as the well’s producing, you’re going to need someone out there tending to the well. … It’s just a wonderful situation for the college, for the students and for industry to have that quick ability to exchange information and showcase what we’re doing, what our needs are,” he said.

Interested in joining the growing natural gas industry? Click HERE to visit our online Job Portal to search for exciting opportunities across our region.