Butler County Community College and the Gas Technology Institute have joined together to offer a month-long program on natural gas industry skills.
BC3’s ‘Utility Worker/Field Skills Training Certificate’ program will blend classroom instruction, hands-on experience and field work. It will include heavy equipment operator training, excavation safety, pipeline installation and maintenance and underground pipeline locating.
“It’s a very intensive program,” Maria Chvala, BC3’s coordinator of industrial safety training, said in a statement. “Students are going to get a lot of training in this short amount of time.”
The program, to be held in BC3’s Public Safety Training Facility, is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays March 13 through April 7.
More than 19,600 workers were directly employed in natural gas development in Pennsylvania as of June, the state Department of Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in December. Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry. The commonwealth’s natural gas production increased more than 2,400 percent from 2005 to 2014. It also sits above the largest unconventional and second-largest overall natural gas field in the world, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Royal Dutch Shell announced in June it would build a chemical plant in Monaca, Beaver County, where the company would make plastics from gas extracted in Pennsylvania. Projections for employment are up to 6,000 during peak construction and 600 full-time positions in the future, according to DCED.
When out-of-state companies began to place natural gas platforms in Pennsylvania at the outset of the Marcellus shale economic boom, “They were having to bring in their own employees,” Chvala said in a statement. “This was all new to us. A lot of people weren’t aware of this industry or knew how to work in it, and so they started bringing all their employees up here.”
Written By: Kayla Molczan for the Butler Radio Network