STEUBENVILLE - Local residents and those from beyond the area will be looking to get the basic training they need to get their employable feet in the door of the local oil and gas industry.
From Aug. 19 to Sept. 6, Eastern Gateway Community College and ShaleNET are offering a three-week floor hand training course at the Pugliese Center in Steubenville.
The class runs from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily and is aimed at providing its students with the basic skills and knowledge to be hired in an entry-level position in the budding industry locally.
These ShaleNET courses are funded by a grant and free of charge to those that qualify. The qualifications include passing a physical exam, drug screening and criminal background check. Those costs must be covered by the applicant and usually run around $150. Completion does not guarantee placement.
A valid driver's license is also required, as is a copy of a DD214 discharge paper for veterans as full scholarships are available for vets, along with unemployed Ohioans.
The requirements were set forth by oil and gas industry professionals, as were the topics covered by the course.
Floor hands operate well drilling and service rigs. They also assist with general maintenance tasks and connection/ disconnection of pipes.
"The premise of the grant and this program is to help re-train folks who are unemployed or are looking to make a career change," said Tracee Joltes, the assistant director of work force outreach for EGCC. "We want to get local folks working out in this field. And when you're talking about oil rigs, only a handful of people run the rig at a time. Those guys work together, as a team. They know how each other works and it takes a while to get that, and the terminology, down."
The companies don't want to have to train someone from scratch and learn on the job where mistakes could potentially be dangerous.
"They need to understand the terminology, the types of tools, all the protocols that they've never had to deal with before," Joltes said.
Joltes admitted there is no way to learn everything in three weeks. But the course is an in-depth orientation to understanding the tools, different roles, jobs and expectations that the oil and gas companies have of their workers.
It also gives the potential employees a chance to see what this type of work really is about.
"They are expected to work a lot of hours. The money is great. But you'll be working 12-hour shifts, sometimes for three weeks straight," Joltes said. "You'll work seven days a week, holidays there is not a lot of time off."
EGCC has already held eight of these classes since the grant was first approved. It is sure to offer more. And despite being just three weeks in length, the work has paid off.
"We've had over 100 people in the eight classes already and, I'd say, some 70-75 percent have jobs in the industry," Joltes said. "While others have gotten jobs, just not in the field."
Another adjustment for the local work force in attempting to get into the industry is the initial process of applying.
These are national companies that request applications of employment be submitted online and run through the companies' human resources departments at the central office.
The days of walking up with a resume and handing it in are basically over, at least where this industry is concerned.
"A lot of these jobs, you have to apply online and most of the local workers are used to handing in a paper resume," Joltes said. "The field offices locally for these companies are constantly moving, so you can't necessarily just go in and apply.
"It's a difficult system that we're not used to around here, and we're trying to teach people how it works so they can better understand it when they try to get into the field."
Applicants should go to www.ShaleNET.org and register with Talent Match to learn more details. In addition, packets with the forms can be picked up at the Pugliese Center. Registration is required by Aug. 12.
For more information, visit www.egcc.edu/shale or call 740-264-5591, ext. 311.