Job Hunting in the Marcellus
Reports everywhere highlight an increase in jobs created as a result of the natural gas industry! In fact, a recent study by Penn State University shows the industry could bring up to 180,000 new jobs by 2012! All this is great, but how do you know if you are looking in the right place, what the job entails or how to apply? Read on to learn more about finding employment opportunities in the natural gas industry.
Where Do I Start Looking?
Whether you are looking to be a general laborer, roustabout, or hoping to continue your career in management, job searching in the natural gas industry is a whole new game for Pennsylvania and New York residents. You will need to know how your skills can be transferred, what different positions entail, and what other training you might need to be qualified.
Workforce Development Offices
One of the best places to start your search is with your local workforce development office. In Pennsylvania, the industry has been working alongside PA CareerLink to provide standard definitions of positions, resume templates, and career readiness programs that provide job seekers with the tools needed to understand this new industry and where they fit into it. Many companies are also posting their openings with CareerLink and can search for you based on information you have included on your resume.
Workforce development offices can also provide you with financial assistance in job training and are typically a free service for job seekers. Whether you need to brush up on your computer skills or are looking to change your career direction entirely, their staffs are trained to be able to point you in the right direction and are a valuable informational resource.
Production vs. Service Companies
As with any job, it is crucial that you understand who you are applying with and what you are going to be asked to do. One of the key differences in searching for jobs in this market is that the companies you have heard of the most, are often not the best ones to apply to. Why is that?
Most people are very familiar with the operators or production companies in the natural gas industry. Anadarko, Chief, Chesapeake, Exco, Exxon, Shell, Talisman, XTO, and Williams (just to name a few!) are all excellent companies to work for, but because of the nature of the industry, they tend to not hire as often as other companies. Production companies own the site where all of the activity takes place, but they often will hire service companies to perform the various tasks needed in the process of natural gas development.
Local companies that service the natural gas industry are where a job seeker will find most open positions. That’s not to say that these larger production companies never hire and should be overlooked, but just a tidbit that any job seeker should be aware of.
While a production company may not always have direct job openings, indirectly they provide a lot of jobs to the community by hiring local businesses to work on site. If you are looking for a specific kind of job, say welding or building pipelines, a phone call to a production company can steer you in the right direction of what companies are hiring or will be based on who they are working with. Knowing the companies that will be operating on different projects in your area is a valuable tool to know where to start your job search.
Because this is a relatively new industry in our communities, not all residents have the experience or knowledge of the natural gas industry to be able to go directly into the workforce given current education and training. Grants have been issued to help develop the programs needed to train a local workforce and the natural gas industry has been influential in working alongside developers to ensure that existing and new courses really provide students with the knowledge they will need to work in the industry.
Your local workforce development office or PA CareerLink office will have information on some of these programs like Fit for Natural Gas (covered in the WNEP report) or Pipelines for Youth and how you can get enrolled in them. Here are a few others you might want to look into:
Pennsylvania and New York Community Colleges
Several community colleges such as Luzerne County Community College in Pennsylvania and Broome Community College in New York are in the process of enhancing their existing programs and developing new natural gas specific curriculum. Your local community college is a great place to look for job training, and a quick call to its admissions office will let you know if they have what you are looking for.
Lackawanna College’s New Milford Center is becoming a hub for natural gas industry training through its associate degrees. Their recent graduating class had 100% job offers thanks to their efforts to work with the industry to develop programs that will prepare residents for work in the industry. They also just started a degree for working on compression stations. If you are looking to further your education and know you want to work in the natural gas industry this is a great program to look into.
ShaleNet and Pennsylvania College of Technology
ShaleNet and the Pennsylvania College of Technology have been working with industry representatives to develop 2 week programs that offer participants with valuable training for entry level natural gas industry positions such as welders, roustabouts, CDL truck drivers and derrick operators to name a few. Penn College has also been working to enhance their existing degree programs to include natural gas training where applicable. These programs are also great for individuals looking to learn more about the industry, whether you want to be a general laborer or not. I took the Roustabout course and would be happy to tell you more about it if you are interested.
Resources for Job Seekers
While visiting an office, hand delivering an application and resume, and speaking with the staff is always encouraged, some companies require online applications. Here are some sites you might want to consider using to assist you in your online search.
Independent Oil and Gas Association–NY: Member companies often post jobs on this site.
Independent Petroleum Association of America: Post your resume, search for jobs and give employers the capability to seek you out on the IPAA’s website.
Marcellus Shale Coalition: This portal provides you with a list of the human resources websites of its member companies. The left column consists of production companies and the right is service companies.
MarcellusShaleJobs.com: On this site users pay $10 to post their resume and search for jobs. Employers can also seek you out based on your uploaded resume.
PA CareerLink: You can search for jobs through their web portal or stop in at your local office for job searching assistance.
Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association: This site allows you to browse jobs, as well as post your resume for employers.
Independent Petroleum Association of America: This page highlights universities across the country working with the IPAA to develop training programs.
Lackawanna College-New Milford Center
New York Community Colleges: List of the community colleges in New York.
PA CareerLink: Offices across the state offer job training and assistance to job seekers.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Pennsylvania Community Colleges: List of the community colleges in Pennsylvania.
Luzerne County Community College
***Does your institution offer natural gas related job training or would you like your organization to be added as a resource for job seekers? Please contact email@example.com to have your information included on our Job Resource page.***