Appalachian Basin

Education Curriculum Caters to Marcellus Shale

Representative of New York’s 29th Congressional District, Tom Reed, held a hearing on August 6th at the Jamestown Community College to discuss the potential of Marcellus shale gas in New York as well as understand how the southern tier is preparing a workforce for this industrial process.  The hearing was by invite only; it brought out members of the public, press, the Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY (IOGA of NY) and Americas Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA).  Representative Reed was thoroughly informed about natural gas development and, much like Debra Preston, he is an advocate for responsible natural gas development.

Representative Reed co-founded the Marcellus Shale Caucus which focuses on getting the best science, information and data out into the public setting on the issue of Marcellus Shale gas and its development as a resource. Reed hopes to get the local labor force in a position to benefit from the development of natural gas when it finally comes to New York State.

The Speakers

John Holko

John Holko

Among those invited to speak as the hearing were Paul Carmichael of Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Brenda English of Corning Community College and John Holko president of Lenape Resources.

Carmichael and English both gave presentations about how the BOCES program and Corning Community College are offering programs dedicated to the natural gas industry.

Holko was able to give insight on natural gas exploration, explain other educational opportunities in the industry and answer questions from the public regarding development of the resource.

Just looking at whats going on in the industry you have tons of job growth, that to me is the amazing thing.  We have guys getting hired as truck drivers, roustabout laborers and some just turning wrenches.  You have people in the ancillary businesses, making sandwiches at food carts so the opportunity for work is just tremendous.  The energy business has kept a lot of the employment alive.

In his opening remarks, Holko noted the money being generated from natural gas development is the same money that’s going to move us to the next energy, whatever that is.  Even with natural gas being the cleanest burning fossil fuel, it is, by nature, a bridge fuel to get us to the next level in energy production.

Brenda English

Brenda English

Brenda English from the Corning Community College has helped to develop a curriculum specific to New York State and designed solely around natural gas development.  She explained that, within the energy sector itself, her organization has looked at supply chain management and LEED training for construction companies as areas of interest.  She explained various aspects of this program and how it serves to support the industry.

External to the energy sector, her program is providing training that would be in support of related industries coming into the area as a consequence of natural gas development.

This curriculum crosses the board from hotel customer service training because the hotels are receiving more business from the industry to serve safe training for restaurants because now they have more customers coming in, they need safe food handling types of programs.  The residual effect in our community has defiantly been great.

Paul Carmichael of Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES

Paul Carmichael

Paul Carmichael of Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES spoke about the job training that is being done not at the college level, but at the high school level, primarily in the students’ junior and senior years.  These students waste no time getting involved and getting the necessary training to get a well paying job after graduation.

This BOCES facility offers a variety of programs with some directly aligning themselves with the marcellus shale.  The curriculum offers a natural resources program focused on heavy equipment operations and maintenance as well as sensitivity to the environment training.

Carmichael also stated these BOCES programs are not solely for young adults in high school and offer programs catered towards adults (3:30).  Watch the video following for further details:

Many parents feel as though their kids have two choices; stay here in the region and be underemployed or leave.  I believe just the contrary is true, there are opportunities here but we have to prepare our young people and create the right expectations.

Amazing Technology

During the questions and answer segment of the hearing Holko spoke about what he believed to be the most amazing technology coming out of the industry.  This technology is the water treatment, purification and cleanup.

Because its so important to the energy business the resources spent to protecting and cleaning water is unbelievable.  There are foreign countries that have no water.  I mean we have people that go over there and drill water wells because the resource is not available.  A lot of the water they are using is completely polluted, but now we have the technology instead of developing water that’s hard to find we’re able to take the water that’s there and turn it into a product that’s usable (4:00).

The final question of the hearing concerned whether the natural gas under New York State is worth the continued fight against the antis to bring development to New York.  Holko couldn’t have answered this question any better and, after his answer, I’m still not sure how anyone can continue to fight this opportunity.  Watch for yourself.

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