PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is developing numerous degree and certificate programs that align with sustainable, high-skill occupations in the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry. 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 (TRWIB), 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’s mission has always included preparing individuals for the careers available in our region’s economy,” said CCAC President Alex Johnson, PhD. “Our aim with the Marcellus Shale is to help ensure that people have the skills to take advantage of these emerging jobs as they are created.”
CCAC has developed or retooled several programs specifically to better prepare individuals for opportunities in this emerging field:
CCAC is collaborating with other schools, such as Westmoreland County Community College, to train workers for additional jobs like roustabouts. CCAC 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.
“Throughout CCAC’s approach to this new industry, our focus has been on preparing well-rounded individuals who will not only be prepared for jobs with the Marcellus Shale but also have transferable skills to succeed in other industries,” said Judy Savolskis, interim vice president for Workforce Development.
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 informational sessions that address many of the issues related to the industry. They cover a range of topics, including: “What to know before you sign the lease for drilling rights”; an overview of the environmental impact; and an explanation of the job categories in the drilling industry. Inaugural sessions were recently held at CCAC’s Washington County Center. In January, an expanded series will be offered for free at both Washington County Center and CCAC–Boyce Campus.
For more information about these programs, contact any CCAC admissions office or visit www.ccac.edu, search keyword “Marcellus Shale.”
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.