Stark State awarded $3.26 million for oil and gas training

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CANTON -- Stark State College has been awarded $3.26 million in grants from the United States Department of Labor and The Timken Foundation to fund oil- and gas-related labs and equipment at the Energy Innovation Center of its Downtown Canton Satellite Center, which is scheduled for completion in 2015.

The $2.76 million from the department and $500,000 from The Timken Foundation will fund education training systems for associate degree and certificate programs related to the growing oil and gas industry. In addition, these funds will cover costs to create and supply training labs for: oil and gas instrumentation and electronics, geographic information systems, geology, drilling, production and welding. Funding will also cover development of ShaleNET-US and lease operator labs, which include mock-ups and supplies for well head, tank battery, pump jack, natural gas compression and production/well site training.

"These generous awards position Stark State College to become a national model for curriculum development in the shale oil and gas industry," said Para M. Jones, PhD, president of Stark State College. "Employers need well-trained, credentialed workers to fill a wide range of jobs. In conjunction with industry leaders such as Chesapeake, EnverVest, Marathon, ShaleNET-US, The Timken Company, Dominion and others, Stark State is addressing the need for highly-skilled workers pursuing gainful employment in Ohio's expanding oil and gas industry."

In February 2011, Stark State received $10 million from the State of Ohio to build the new downtown Canton Satellite Center that will include training for the oil and gas industry.

"It's very exciting for Stark State to plan a new downtown center that will play such a critical workforce development role for Ohio's oil and gas industry and promote economic development in northeast Ohio. Our industry-approved credentialing, credit-based stackable certificates and degrees prepare adults for various stages of employment and will allow them to progress to develop new skills for advanced employment," Jones added.

"These DOL awards are highly competitive, and the funds will benefit our local economy through a better-trained workforce ready to work for oil and gas companies," Jones said.

Stark State's approach to education, training and economic development is enhanced by their commitment to public-private partnerships that engage local business and industry, state and community leaders, elected officials and educators.

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