It seems just about every day a new article is published about more natural gas utilization in this county. From power plants to vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG), this country is freeing itself from energy dependence daily. With the government starting to recognize just how much domestic gas really exists, many experts agree it’s time to start developing tomorrow’s workforce today. At Elk Lake High School, connecting its students with careers in the natural gas industry has become an annual event at Energy Career Day.
Created by the Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium a few years ago, Energy Career Day gives soon-to-be graduates opportunities to meet local companies developing Marcellus Shale or supporting the development. This year, fifteen companies representing many different facets of energy development were present to interact with a few hundred students from four different high schools. Some of the companies present included Chesapeake Energy, Scranton Electricians IBEW, Ace Robbins Inc., Procter & Gamble, etc.
With no real guidelines on how to interact with participating students, each company had the freedom to educate who they saw fit. Some brought in equipment the students could see. Others gave away packets with company information and applications. Cabot is not currently looking to hire, so we took this event as an opportunity to educate students about production and science-related jobs.
To set the right messaging in motion at Cabot’s booth every student was asked what he or she was most interested in. For many, wielding and heavy equipment operations seemed popular. For these students, Cabot representatives emphasized the importance of pipeline infrastructure for moving natural gas to market while suggesting a stop at the neighboring table staffed by GasSearch Drilling Services (GDS), Cabot’s wholly owned construction company.
For those interested in other career paths, Philip Levasseur, a Cabot water resource specialist, explained the many scientific and mathematical jobs available in the industry. As part of his regular responsibilities Phillip informed the students “on any given day I need to communicate with twenty different contractors while cross-referencing important data from different departments in the company.” The look on the students’ faces was priceless when Phillip informed them that the average cost behind one Marcellus well could be “six to nine million dollars” and that “three to five years worth of planning was not uncommon.”
For most of the students, participating in this networking event will help set reasonable career goals in perspective because the natural gas industry requires hundreds of jobs, many of which do not have a specific college major or curriculum to reach them. The success of this event and many more like it will insure this country’s future energy work is ready to meet its needs!