Appalachian Basin

Marlington High School Trains Students for the Oil & Gas Industry

UPDATE (5/7/13 11:00 am ET): In the six months since Energy In Depth’s first visit to Marlington High School‘s Gas and Oil Technology Program, the class has garnered statewide attention.  The flagship program led by instructor Bob Givens has received support from Governor John Kasich, hosted visits from big names in oil and gas, and even recently gave students a special opportunity with their local state representative.

For example, students met Representative Christina Hagan at an Ohio ACTE event at the statehouse earlier this year.  Hagan, a Marlington High School alum, told students she always wanted to learn how to operate a bulldozer, so the students invited her up to learn just that.  John Deere donated the class a bulldozer for two weeks, and Rep. Hagan returned to Marlington to learn from the students.  After a quick lesson, Hagan looked like a professional:

Givens explained that not only did students get to meet their state representative, but the experience gave them an opportunity to show that they understand the significance of what they’re learning.  He encourages the students to teach others so that in a future job interview, they can fully explain their experience and knowledge, both of which have been gained in and out of the classroom.  The students have visited well sites, trade shows, and welding facilities to get first hand experience, and two students were given the opportunity to job shadow on a well site for a full day.  Senior Alex Hatfield chatted with Energy In Depth about his experience:

“It’s big time…it shows me places to go, what opportunities there are. It’s going to help me big time in the future.” –Alex Hatfield (:37)

With Ohio’s shale industry growing rapidly, more jobs will need to be filled.  Students like those at Marlington High School are getting a jump start toward the opportunities changing the state’s economic landscape.

– Original Post from December 4, 2012 –

Throughout the past three months, Marlington High School in Alliance has caught the eye of Ohio media for leading the way in vocational education. To name a few, the Canton Repository, Akron Beacon Journal, Alliance Review, and Farm and Dairy have covered the school’s Gas and Oil Technology Program.  While many of the articles have focused on the senior class, EID was invited to visit the program’s junior class that will participate in the program a full two years.  12 juniors and 10 seniors enrolled in Ohio’s first oil and gas technology program.

Instructor Bob Givens explained that the program will give students a head start in the industry by learning basic mechanical training that used to be taught in now defunct shop classes. He highlighted the fact that students will learn to use tractors, trailers, loaders, hydraulic equipment like log splitters, and chainsaws; learn welding, piping, block laying, wiring, electrical work, and plumbing.

While some time with equipment is donated by local companies, Givens looks to rent equipment rather than purchase. Since technology changes so rapidly, he wants students to learn from new equipment and stay up to date.

Some students hope to get an entry-level job upon completion; others hope to receive college credit to use after graduation.  He stresses to his students how early in Ohio’s shale development we really are and the incredible opportunities it will bring through job creation:

They’re learning that this industry is not just a fly-by-night, it’s a long term, and they’re looking at all the different options of what the job opportunities might be—whether it’s transient movement with the rigs, or staying with a permanent job in a community with processing and the delivery of those products—Robert Given, Marlington High School Gas and Oil Technology Program (1:35)

Since this is a pilot program in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education and Stark State College, grants will be needed to fund the program after its two year trial. Currently, Marlington High School itself funds the class.  Next year, they hope to expand the program providing open enrollment to neighboring schools and bringing on another teacher to fulfill needs.  This school year, the class plans to present to Governor Kasich’s Ohio Economic Education Summit and applied to present at the 2013 Legislative Seminar.

The program also aims to develop a curriculum that can be used in other school districts across Ohio.  Schools in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have inquired about Marlington’s program in hopes of starting their own.

The hands-on experiences using large equipment has given juniors Otha Loving and Darrian Nelson hope of finding jobs in the oil and gas industry or related fields. EID was able to bring them out of class for a few minutes to chat about their experience:

I thought it’d be a great opportunity to get a head start of everyone else who doesn’t have the experience we’re getting in the two years—Otha Loving, Marlington High School Gas & Oil Technology Program (:04)

After a year or two of learning the industry’s terminology, safety practices, mechanical basics, and operating and maintaining large equipment, Marlington High School’s students will be better prepared to take part in Ohio’s oil and gas revolution. These are great first steps towards ensuring a brighter, more prosperous future.

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