The month-long, free course on pipeline job training at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus in South Buffalo and two other locations have netted jobs quickly for about 60 percent of trainees, according to organizers.
The course, featuring classes each weekday, is known as the “Natural Gas Utility and Pipeline Fuels Training Program.”
The next month-long course begins Nov. 12.
Slots still are open at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus in the Northpointe Technology Center in South Buffalo and for Nov. 19 in Belmont College, St. Clairsville, Ohio. Breaks will be taken for the Thanksgiving and hunting season.
This is the fourth time this year for the course, which is sponsored by Armstrong County, the Gas Technology Institute, and United Mine Workers of America.
The program is paid for by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, which helps displaced coal workers and others in the Appalachian region.
“The people who are successful are the people who graduate and are looked at by the companies as good potential hires. And the companies look at the month-long course as a feeder for employees,” said Patrick Findle, a senior program manager based in Pittsburgh for the Gas Technology Institute, which is a not-for-profit research and training organization headquartered in Chicago.
The gas industry has a bigger need for employees now as there’s been a lot of activity repairing and replacing older traditional gas pipelines and building new ones, Findle added.
Jobs can start at $40,000 to $50,000.
Local residents — including those from other counties — are eligible to enroll in the courses, which is valued at $3,500.
They must pass a drug test and a background check.
The program was designed by the Gas Technology Institute in collaboration with gas utility and contractor companies, workforce and economic development offices, community colleges and other venues.
Armstrong County Commissioner Jason Renshaw said, “This level of training, at no tuition cost to the student, in a field with available, well-paying jobs does not happen every day. I certainly hope our people take advantage of this.”
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.