OOGEEP Encourages Local Schools To Prepare Students For Oil and Gas Opportunities
The Franciscan University of Steubenville recently hosted the Principals’ Leadership Academy. The event, which included superintendents and principals from Belmont, Harrison and Jefferson Counties (all shale producing counties), came together to discuss programming, hot topics, and a subject on everyone in the areas mind – shale development.
The forum was attended by elementary, middle, and secondary principals and superintendents seeking to learn more about what oil and gas development could mean for possible opportunities for their students when they graduate high school.
As with any subject matter, it is good to get the students involved early.
The final topic of the day was titled “Opportunities & Challenges: Education and the Utica/Marcellus Shale Industries,” which featured a dynamic presentation from Charlie Dixon, who is the Safety and Workforce Administrator for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP). Mr. Dixon discussed at length all of the teacher workshop programs and scholarships OOGEEP provides on a yearly basis, a topic of intrigue to the audience as many of them are seeing significant oil and gas development on their areas recently.
Now, with this recent development, a primary goal is to educate our educators and our youth about the opportunities out in the oilfield; whether it be through teacher workshops, science fairs or classroom presentations. Utica Shale/Point Pleasant development will be a major job creator in eastern Ohio and we need to let our student know there are opportunities out there when they graduate.
We don’t have enough people to work on diesel trucks; we don’t have enough machinists, things like that, jobs like that. We’re in trouble in this country. We’ve got to start engaging. One of the things career counselors tells me, Charlie we’ve got 4 minutes and 38 seconds to talk to each student per a class. My message to you today is we need to figure out a way to open the doors of opportunity to them about this industry.- Charlie Dixon, Safety and Workforce Administrator for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP)
Mr. Dixon also touted the successes of Eastern Gateway Community College as well as Belmont College, both of which offer courses for the oil and gas field. Mr. Dixon spoke highly of Marietta College’s Petroleum Engineering program, which is the oldest petroleum engineering program in the eastern portion of the United States. These schools provide opportunities for students and those reentering the workforce through certificate programs, two year programs or 4 year programs.
Thanks to Utica Shale/Point Pleasant development, educators are now more in tuned with the possibilities this industry can have for their students who are interested in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Their students will also have more opportunities coming out of technical schools then they have ever had before. Hopefully, with the guidance from OOGEEP and Mr. Dixon, these administrators can go back and look to ways to implement these jobs into the career choices of their students.