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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by Community and Technical College System of West Virginia Chancellor Jim Skidmore, today announced the establishment of the Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center in Fairmont. The Center will address the growing workforce needs of the oil and gas industry within the State and provide training opportunities for individuals who are interested in working in the field.
“This new Center, and its hands-on curriculum, will better prepare West Virginians for the highly-skilled, good-paying jobs needed to meet the demand of our growing oil and gas industry,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I’m thankful for the industry’s collaboration during the development of this much-needed program and look forward to congratulating the first class of graduates.”
Through joint programs offered by Pierpont Community and Technical College (Pierpont CTC) and West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC), the Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center will focus on delivering a Certificate of Applied Science (C.A.S.) in Petroleum Technology, an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Petroleum Technology, and specific customized training programs to address the industry’s work force training demands. The Center is a result of collaboration between the higher education institutions and the oil and gas industry.
“As the development of the Marcellus shale continues to expand, this Center will help our community and technical colleges meet the training demands of this growing sector,” said Dr. Martin J. Olshinsky, President, WVNCC. “The launch of this Center reflects our continued commitment to developing training programs that are industry-driven and industry-relevant. The oil and gas industry spoke and we responded.”
“The Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center is the result of dialogue and partnership with the power industries of our region,” said Dr. Doreen Larson, President of Pierpont CTC. “However, the ‘power’ of the program lies in engaging and developing the intelligence and work ethic of the people of West Virginia. Pierpont is proud to be able to offer this training that provides an avenue to keep talented workers and their families living in West Virginia.”
“From the beginning, the Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center project has been a prime example of collaboration between industry, government, and education leaders,” said Charlie Burd, Executive Director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV).
“Having business and industry involved in the curriculum and facility planning gives us confidence that graduates will have the skills and hands-on training needed for industry careers,” said Corky Demarco, Executive Director for the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA). “Having more skilled workers will make West Virginia even more attractive to industries that operate in this highly competitive regional market.”
A key feature of the Center will be the indoor and outdoor drilling simulation laboratories which will provide hands-on training for its students. Both Pierpont CTC and WVNCC campuses will be equipped with indoor drilling simulators and will deliver collaborative training on the outdoor drilling simulator located in Fairmont.
“This effort would not be possible without the ongoing dedication and support from the oil and gas industry and community college leadership,” said Jim Skidmore, Chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS). “Because of our collective efforts in developing these programs, many more West Virginians will now be able to access an education that leads to high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the State.”
“As the economy of the Northern Panhandle diversifies with development of the shale gas resources, it is crucial for West Virginia Northern Community College to create programs to provide individuals with the technical and hands-on skills needed to gain employment,” Olshinsky added. “Northern appreciates the assistance of the industry partners to help create a world-class program that is specific to the Appalachian oil and gas fields.”
Olshinsky said, “The petroleum technology program will be one of the cornerstone programs in our new Applied Technology Center in Wheeling. The petroleum technology lab provides hands-on experience to prepare individuals to work in the production side of the rapidly expanding oil and gas industry. In addition to the work of the industry panel to help develop a curriculum that addresses industry needs, partners such as Dominion and Chesapeake have already contributed resources to provide equipment for the program.”
Pierpont CTC and WVNCC are currently accepting applications for the training programs and classes are scheduled to begin in August 2013 with the first students graduating from the program in May 2014.