High Flies the Falcon: HF Helping to Create Jobs from Pennsylvania to Poland
What does Pennsylvania and Poland have in common other than a love for polka, a taste for haluski, and a propensity for Babushkas? Well, the responsible development of clean-burning natural gas from shale formations – enabled by hydraulic fracturing – is helping to create jobs. Thousands of them.
In fact, Dow Jones reports this today under the headline “Polish Shale Sector Needs Hands”:
If Poland is to develop its reserves of shale gas, the material that has created an energy bonanza in the U.S., one of its biggest obstacles is likely to be securing a qualified labor force, industry participants say. “There are about 1,000 shale jobs in Poland right now, but there will be 50,000 to 100,000 in the next 10 years,” says Jakub Kostecki, chief executive of New Gas Contracting, a Warsaw-based recruiting firm.
Poland has recoverable shale-gas resources of 5.3 trillion cubic meters, equal to more than 300 years of the country’s annual natural-gas consumption, the US Department of Energy says in a report.
Business is picking up, but Geofizyka Torun is facing increasing competition as rival companies set up shop in Poland, bringing their own equipment to do seismic testing and hiring young professionals, says Sylwia Kowalska, a human-resources director at the company. But Geofizyka Torun offers to pay for its employees’ lodgings and provides them with English classes, she says. “We’re seeing employees who left coming back,” Ms. Kowalska says. “They miss Poland.” She estimates that in May the company hired at least 70% more people than a year ago.
Responsible American natural gas production in Pennsylvania continues to be an economic catalyst for small businesses and those looking for work. This from today’s Sunbury (PA) Daily Item:
Dennis Hain believes in learning a trade, then being able to find a job in that trade. As director of SUN Area Technical Institute, he sees the school’s pilot program with Pennsylvania College of Technology as fitting the bill by preparing students to work in the natural gas industry. … “I can tell you I’ve never received as many phone calls from businesses asking for students. We don’t have enough to fill the positions.”
If working for a natural gas company is an ethical issue for some, for others it’s a means to a good paycheck and benefits that they wouldn’t have otherwise without leaving the state. “A high school diploma and a real good work ethic are about what you need to get hired in an entry-level job up there,” said Tracy Brundage, assistant vice president of workforce and economic development at Penn College. She noted that a good driving record and clean background also are important.
Take it a step further with more education, and a student can make a solid career with a salary two or three times what he or she would make in another industry, plus good benefits.
And in a weekend editorial, the Altoona (PA) Mirror underscores the important fact that “the Marcellus industry has pumped needed dollars into rural areas of our state.” This all, of course, helps explain why Gallup’s Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe recently said “One thing the U.S. could do to stimulate job growth going forward would be to place more emphasis on expanding the nation’s energy and commodity sectors.”