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Community and technical colleges to begin Marcellus Shale program this fall

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This fall, students in Northern West Virginia can begin enrolling in a program that will train them for jobs in Marcellus Shale drilling.

James Skidmore, chancellor of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia, said Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont and Northern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Wheeling, Weirton and New Martinsville will begin offering a petroleum technology program this fall. The program will help students prepare for a variety of jobs in the Marcellus Shale area, primarily in northern and North Central West Virginia.

"Currently (our programs) address the needs of the oil and gas industry, and we have two colleges primarily focused on that — Pierpont Community and Technical College and Northern West Virginia Community and Technical College. That's primarily where most of the drilling is taking place for Marcellus Shale," Skidmore said. "Each of those colleges is doing training for the oil and gas industry — things like floor hands, CPR safety, hydraulics, some of those types of things that are entry-level positions in the oil and gas industry."

Skidmore said the CTC system has worked with the oil and gas industry to create a curriculum that would enhance the skills of West Virginia students and prepare them for jobs in the industry. Students can earn either a one-year certificate or a two-year associates of science degree in petroleum technology. 

"It will train and educate folks for a variety of jobs in the oil and gas industry," Skidmore said.

"We're talking to employers all the time about what their needs are and are trying to deliver those programs that will provide opportunities for West Virginians to gain the sills to move into those highly-paid jobs."