CCAC offers training for Marcellus Shale work

Posted October 7, 2010


PITTSBURGH - Community College of Allegheny County said Wednesday it is developing numerous degree and certificate programs that align with sustainable, high-skill occupations in the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

The college said in a press release that the programs and public workshops are part of a comprehensive strategy to prepare individuals for a wide range of occupations across the industry.

"Current state and regional proposals focus on helping individuals become entry-level field workers for the industry," said Charles Blocksidge, PhD, executive director of the CCAC-Allegheny County Workforce Alliance. "CCAC also wants to position itself to serve those industry employees who seek more substantial positions in the industry and to assist entry-level workers in their move up career ladders."

CCAC has been working with Allegheny County Economic Development and the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, monitoring the jobs and training opportunities available in the industry. CCAC is working to adapt and develop programs that can meet specific Marcellus Shale industry needs.

CCAC has developed or retooled several programs specifically to better prepare individuals for opportunities in the emerging field, including:

n Welding associate's degree to provide students with pipe-welding skills in the process employed by the Marcellus Shale industry to connect natural gas cross-country transmission pipelines.

n Bio-remediation certificate: a program under development with Frac Biologics and Allegheny-Singer Research Institute will prepare technicians to treat wastewater from drilling wells

n Drilling industry certificate: a noncredit, short-term training certificate will address many of the skill sets in electronics, instruments and controls needed by mechanics and other industry personnel

n First Responder PA DOH certification: a course will assist individuals who might be first on the scene of an industrial type emergency in addressing the EMS issues that can arise on drilling sites and related locations.

CCAC said it is collaborating with other schools, such as Westmoreland County Community College, to train workers for additional jobs such as roustabouts. It said it will also focus on serving the economic hubs of the industry in Pittsburgh and Washington County, preparing individuals for a broad range of occupations in the headquarters, legal, financial and technical areas.

Using data from Three Rivers Clean Energy Partnership, the Marcellus Shale Collaborative and a study CCAC commissioned this spring on growing industries in the region, the college identified 11 existing associate's degrees and 10 credit certificate programs that align with industry workforce needs. Additional programs, both credit and non-credit, have significant overlap with skills required by positions in the industry.

For members of the general public seeking more information about the Marcellus Shale industry and its impact on the region, CCAC has developed free informational sessions that address many of the issues related to the industry.

For more information, call CCAC's Washington Crown Center admissions office at 724-223-1012, or visit, search keyword "Marcellus Shale."

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.