High School Graduates – A Career in Marcellus Shale?

High School Graduates – A Career in Marcellus Shale?

To a high school senior, planning for the future is more of a priority than ever. Careers are being decided and pursued more rapidly than in the past, and the pressure to decide early is a factor in the high school years.

The costs of college have surged over the last 20 years, prompting many families to limit their options or consider alternatives. A promising prospect on the horizon is the potential of Marcellus Shale jobs. In 2011 alone, over 1,200 new Marcellus Shale wells have been drilled in the state of Pennsylvania, and each well requires a multitude of workers to construct and operate.

Many of the jobs required for a Marcellus Shale operation require job-specific training, and much of can be learned either on the job or through a number of career training programs available through Vocation Training Centers.

Pennsylvania State Representative Brandon Neuman, D-North Strabane, recently hosted a Youth Jobs Forum at the Western Area Career and Technology Center in Chartiers with the purpose of bringing together high school guidance counselors, training service programs, trade schools and representatives from the oil and gas industry. His goal is to help bridge the gap and make information available to the high school graduates for whom college is not an option and what he considers “family sustaining careers” that Marcellus Shale drilling has brought into the region. “I’ve talked to a lot of grandparents who are upset that their grandchildren have to move to find a job,” he said. “We want to change that perception. We want to make sure that the jobs in Washington County go to people who live in Washington County, or at least Pennsylvania.”

The Marcellus Shale industry jobs are not limited to mining and drilling. A report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry lists office clerks, bookkeepers, accountants and customer service representatives among the many jobs required by the booming industry.

Programs geared to facilitate students quickly into Marcellus jobs are offered at Community College of Allegheny County, Community College of Westmoreland County and Steel Center’s adult education program. The Steel Center’s “Certified Natural Gas & Oil Facility Technician” adult education course reports a placement rate of nearly 100 percent, making it clear that regional workers are being hired for open positions. And administrators of the McKeesport Area Career and Technology Center and Steel Center Vocational and Technical School have recently expressed the need to focus on Marcellus Shale industry-specific training at the secondary level.

It’s clear that the Marcellus Shale industry is opening up doors for high school graduates. A list of Marcellus Shale-related jobs, as well as training required and average salaries can be found here.

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