Like everything Marcellus Shale related, the number of drilling jobs created in Pennsylvnania is controversial. Competing studies put the number at 10,000, 23,500, and 44,000 jobs created. What’s even more controversial is how many of these jobs go to Pennsylvanians. And when you think about Pennsylvania’s gas drilling jobs, you might think of workers from roustabouts to hydro-geologists working in the northern tier or in the southwestern part of the state. But Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry says drilling related jobs are in the Philadelphia area. They have teamed up with Community College of Philadelphia to offer training for these positions.
Starting in the spring semester, students will be able to sign up for courses at Community College of Philadelphia’s new Energy Training Center. The goal is to link southeast Pennsylvania’s residents with jobs related to Marcellus Shale drilling. Sue Mukherjee is with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
“Whether you are trying to be a drafter, whether you are trying to get into architecture,” said Mukherjee, “these are all some of the fundamental base supply chain occupations that are not restricted to the core areas where the drilling is going on. But are dispersed throughout the Commonwealth, with a large part of them right here in Southeast Pennsylvania.”
Mukherjee points to the need for civil engineering technicians, who she says could make $22 dollars an hour assisting civil engineers. She says about 40 such positions open each year within 25 miles of Center City Philadelphia.
Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway says the goal is not to get Philadelphians into the gas fields, but to train them to work in ancillary jobs in southeast Pennsylvania.
“Philadelphia is ideally suited to have that job opportunity, to have that job growth, in this area as long as there’s a trained workforce to fulfill it,” said Hearthway.
Hearthway says CCP is planning to offer certificate programs, and work directly with industry to help the students get jobs when they complete the course. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, donated $15,000 toward a scholarship fund.
CCP President Stephen Curtis says the focus will be on companies that make supplies, or provide services, for the drillers.
“But the emphasis for us is going to be some of the shorter term things to start with so the students can get entry level jobs,” says Curtis.
He says for the longterm, he wants CCP to provide further study for students to advance their careers in the industry.