By Karl Henkel
The growing shale industry has spurred a new job-training program for Mahoning Valley residents.
Eastern Gateway Community College and the city of Warren on Thursday announced a partnership to offer free recruitment and training for jobs in the oil and gas industry.
The program is funded through a ShaleNET grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
The three-week courses will prepare individuals for jobs in the oil and gas industry, including the positions of derrick operators, rotary-drill operators, service-unit operators, roustabouts, welders, brazers and truck drivers.
The first course, which may begin in June though a date has not yet been finalized, will be for roustabouts, positions that set up rigs and performs maintenance and support tasks.
Classes will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for three weeks and can accommodate up to 18 students.
Laura Meeks, president of EGCC, said more classes will be scheduled at later dates.
Meeks said the first round of training recently graduated from the college’s Jefferson County Campus in Steubenville.
“If anyone says that Ohio doesn’t have a ready work force, I’m going to say ‘shame on you,’” Meeks said. “Through our experience of having one class ... Ohioans want these jobs.”
The partnership will host two informational sessions at 2 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. NW.
The sessions are free and require no registration; program details will be announced at that time, including the prerequisite of a background check and drug screening.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said any city residents interested in taking classes will be reimbursed for the background check and drug screening, provided they pass both tests.
The reimbursement money will come from the mayor’s administrative support budget.
“The goal is to capitalize on the job and career opportunities being made available to the region with the Utica and Marcellus shale plays,” Franklin said.