Stark State College and Marlington High partner for gas and oil industry training

Laurie Huffman Dix Communications Published:

Marlington High School, which is conducting the first Gas and Oil Technology Course in the state of Ohio, is partnering with Stark State College on some of the training, and the adult students hailed from places as far flung as Canada and Louisiana. Stark State College, in association with ShaleNET, is offering a Floor Hand Training course that, among other components, includes certificates in the operation of a rough terrain forklift and an aerial work platform, or man lift.

In mid-November, the college and high school shared the use of these pieces of equipment, as well as an instructor, Bob Givens, as they trained the students on the grounds at Marlington.

ShaleNET U.S. is a private and government-funded college consortium that is working to develop and implement standardized, “stackable” certificate and associate-degree programs serving the high-demand employment areas of the oil and natural gas and associated supply-chain industries.

ShaleNET student Sean McKinnon, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, said he learned about the Stark State College course from a neighbor. Jim Tedrick currently unemployed, was told of the training opportunity at The Employment Source, of Canton, and he said he hopes he will find a job after he completes the course. Fellow student, Steve Shell, said the training will help him “get his foot in the door” in an oil and gas company or supplier, and Willie Kolbs said he is definitely using the training as a way to knock on the door of opportunity.

Only two of the 11 Stark State students have any type of college degree at this time. Malcolm Walker, of Louisiana, recently completed service as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and he immediately began searching online for a way to get into the emerging industry. “I wanted to get baseline training for a job as a floor handler,” said Walker. “Obviously, I will want to work my way up from there, but I knew I when I left the Army I wanted to work in the oil and gas industry, because it’s pretty lucrative.”

Marlington students trained on the shared equipment during the day, and the ShaleNET students trained at the high school for three evenings as part of the floor handling course, which is 120 hours, or three weeks long. The ShaleNET students said they would definitely recommend the course because along with equipment operation, the training also includes resume classes, mock interviews, job placement assistance, and rig safety. Walker noted the Rig Safety Certificate, or “rig pass” as he called it, is crucial in getting an entry level job in the oil and gas industry.

“With the resume training on top of that, plus team building, communications, and mock interviews, it is really well rounded,” Walker said. “But,” he added, “the employers will ultimately decide how well the training stacks up.”

Givens said he thinks the ShaleNET course is really a good one, and he indicated he wants to also work with Stark State College to get college credits for his high school students who take his Gas and Oil Technology course during their junior and senior years at Marlington.

For more information on the ShaleNET and the Marlington High School Gas & Oil Technology course, contact Stark State College, in North Canton, at 330-966-5455 or Marlington, in Alliance, at 330-823-1300.

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