By David Conti
Chevron Corp. is putting $20 million into an education initiative aimed at training a new generation of energy sector workers in 27 counties above the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in which it’s an active gas producer.
“We’ve got to start equipping kids in school early enough and through vocational training programs to provide that connection to real job opportunities,” Nigel Hearne, president of Chevron Appalachia, said Tuesday at the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District in announcing the Appalachia Partnership Initiative.
San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron, the world’s ninth-largest energy company, is working with local nonprofits to fund science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes in 20 districts in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia and Eastern Ohio and improve workforce training.
“There is a shortage … of qualified applicants due to a lack of STEM skills,” said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a business and civic group that promotes tourism and economic development in the region.
The conference conducted an analysis in 2012 that identified 14 jobs in high demand among energy companies, but short in supply in the region. Yablonsky named drill rig workers known in the industry as “roustabouts,” workers specializing in mechanical electronics and welders as among the most-needed.