NEW CASTLE —
The New Castle School of Trades has adapted some of its courses to meet the presence of Marcellus shale in this area.
About 25 students are enrolled in the diesel program and there are eight in the power generation course, which is an add-on to the two-year diesel program, said Jim Buttermore, director.
Heavy equipment field service training is another option, added Tony Giovannelli, director of education.
Rex Spalding, president — who said the school has partnered with Cleveland Bros. and Cummins — believes there is a tremendous need for these types of jobs, and the school wants to train locally.
“Programs we’ve long offered here such as industrial maintenance, welding, hydraulics and pneumatics, and electrical skills are now tailored for the shale industry,” Giovannelli continued.
Still fighting the perception that only those with average grades are enrolled, he countered that “Very smart, talented people come here.”
Times have changed. And skill sets are becoming more sophisticated.
“Our electricity program is not just a guy climbing a pole, but someone savvy in computers,” Spalding said.
Companies associated with drilling that graduates are working for include Halliburton, Appalachian Mill Services, Universal Mill Services, Superior Mill Services, Frontier Energy, Baker Hughes, Rosebud Mining, Chevron Energy and Keane Co.
Dr. Steve Catt, executive director of workforce development at the community college, said programs connected to the energy industry range from the three-week ShaleNet curriculum to two-year associate’s degrees. Representatives from the school recruit through schools, CareerLink, National Guard programs and Veterans Affairs, Catt said, and courses to prepare for the next phase in the shale industry — including welding, excavating and production technician are already being looed at.
The ShaleNet curriculum at the main campus covers the areas of roustabout, — an entry level job —floor hand, production technician, commercial driver’s license and welder’s helper.
It’s an exciting time for those coming into the job markets, noted Lisa Campbell, director for business training at BC3.
“Opportunities are there for the next generation.”