Local Programs Am to Launch Job-Ready Workers in Oil and Gas

Local Programs Am to Launch Job-Ready Workers in Oil and Gas

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Students are industry-ready upon graduating through hands-on oil and gas opportunities in West Virginia colleges, according to some of the leading academics in the field. West Virginia University and Pierpont Community and Technical college offer programs for students interested in the oil and gas industry, providing work experiences and on-the-job training to dedicated students to prepare them for the workforce straight out of college.
 
“We’re looking for students that are not afraid to get their hands dirty,” said Denny Mills, dean of the Advanced Technology Center at Pierpont.
 
Students enrolled in the 2-year associates degree in petroleum technology at Pierpont will complete 60 credit hours and work in midstream, upstream, and downstream oil and gas. Other programs in power systems and generation are offered as well. Being a community college, students at Pierpont move through course materials and curriculum quickly, Mills said. That allows for more on-the-job training through field trips and partnerships with companies such as First Energy and Murray Energy. At the completion of the programs, students will have a valuable skill set and many certifications to carry with them into their careers in the rising oil and gas industry.
 
“Companies are coming to us looking for employees, looking for workers,” Mills said. “So we do see an uptick in the industry, especially from a technician side.”
 
Following the lead of Pierpont, West Virginia University has a fairly new program in energy land management for interested in students. WVU began offering a 4-year bachelor’s degree in energy land management in 2015, a program dedicated to teaching students how energy land management relates to energy development, land management, coordination and the development of surface and mineral interests. With just three years under its belt, the WVU Davis College program already holds 140 students. Candidates for the program are serious, hard-working individuals with high GPAs and the ability to communicate effectively, according to Shawn Grushecky.
 
“They’re the ones that do the best,” said Grushecky, an assistant professor and program coordinator for the energy land management program. “And I can tell you that the moment they start as a freshman they start to have opportunities to work part-time and I continue to see them grow and blossom into a career by the time they’re seniors they’re pretty much working full-time and have positions already.”
 
The program trains students to be landmen by teaching them how to understand who owns land and how to get agreements and contracts in place before producing energy resources. Areas in the program include lease and title, traditional landmen and lease operations aspects.
 
“Each one of those has a wide variety opportunities for people to become engaged in,” said Grushecky.
 
People interested in oil and gas educational opportunities in W.Va. can visit www.pierpont.edu and www.davis.wvu.edu to learn more.
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