Appalachian Basin

Marcellus Shale Creates New Opportunities for Students and Veterans

The oil and gas industry is employing hundreds of thousands throughout the Commonwealth and creating new opportunities for students studying law and veterans returning from service in search of employment.

This week the University of Pittsburgh launched the Energy Law and Policy Institute, which will begin operating in 2015 and will host its first major conference on energy law in the spring of 2016. Kevin Abbott, senior law partner at Reed Smith LLP, will serve as the interim executive director of the institute.

According to Abbott:

“Energy is now and will continue to be the engine of this region’s growth for decades to come, and the University will play a role in that growth. I am very grateful to my partners at Reed Smith for supporting my role at the institute while I continue to represent my clients.”

The new institute will focus on advancing the training of law students to become leaders in providing legal services to the energy sector and will develop new courses to help students hone their skills. This is yet another great opportunity for those in college looking to break into the oil and gas industry as well as give high school students something to think about as they make their way toward graduation.

This program will be a unique addition to existing certification and degree programs in the state through programs like ShaleNet and institutions like Mansfield University, Keystone College, and Lackawanna College. The educational opportunities for recent high school graduates and experienced workers looking to return to the workforce include everything from roustabout training to watershed management.

That’s not all: new opportunities are also being created for veterans looking to break into the oil and gas industry. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently visited Pittsburgh, Pa. to help jumpstart a program linking military members to energy related jobs. The roundtable was comprised of officials from the U.S. department of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, along with energy-industry leaders.

The program will use three strategies to accelerate training and hiring of veterans and service members:

  • “Piloting a new program of career awareness, assessment and training at up to four military installations, leading to civilian certifications that will help transitioning service members explore and prepare for careers in the energy sector and related manufacturing jobs in the Pittsburgh region. “
  • “Increasing recruiting of un- and underemployed veterans already in the Pittsburgh region for in-demand jobs using the regional ServiceToOpportunity.org platform, a program of the 2 Allegheny Conference, as well as the national Veterans Employment Center to increase career awareness and connect ready-to-work veterans with ready-to-hire employers.”
  • “Exploring further the creation of an interagency Energy Workforce Institute that would bring federal agencies together with universities, schools, industry and labor representatives, workforce development practitioners and apprenticeship programs across the Pittsburgh region to expedite training and hiring for energy and related manufacturing jobs.”

With 25,000 open jobs and 2,500 of those concentrated in high demand energy and related manufacturing occupations, the Pittsburgh region is the perfect place to deploy a program like this. According to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz:

“Pittsburgh is an ideal location to create the next-generation energy workforce, combining workforce training and advancing technologies. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, one of 17 federal energy laboratories in the U.S. is located here; there is a growing energy sector due to the emergence of the shale gas industry and there is strong support from community leaders. I think Pittsburgh is unique is bringing all of these strengths together in one place. A combination of factors, including continued technological advances and planned investments in the nation’s energy infrastructure, will create 1.5 million new jobs in the energy sector in the next 15 years. We need to recruit, train and employ these workers to be ready to build and maintain our energy infrastructure and implement emerging technologies. This is truly an under-appreciated opportunity for our nation. Now’s the time for us to take the lead and make our country more competitive globally.”

Because of the traits instilled in our servicemen and women – loyalty, courage, safety, commitment, leadership and teamwork – companies are excited by the idea of having trained veterans looking for employment Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry. According to Nigel Hearne, president of Chevron Appalachia:

“Chevron supports ShaleNET and Service to Opportunity to help connect young people entering the workforce, adults looking to re-train, and our returning military veterans with well-paying jobs that allow them to live, work, and thrive here in their hometowns.”

Whether you have a high school degree, plan to attend college or are a military veteran, there are plenty of employment opportunities in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.

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