The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Shale Energy in Ohio = Jobs, Economic Hope

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 29, 2012

More evidence that shale energy in Ohio is looming as an economic dynamo.

First, an op-ed from the Coshocton Tribune discusses ways southeast Ohio can prepare for economic growth stemming from shale energy development. Consultant Jim Evans:

“With current interest in the area's Utica shale resources, there once again is hope for jobs and economic prosperity. Estimates of the numbers of jobs that could be generated vary based on who is making the prediction, but even the most conservative estimates offer promise. If oil and gas development comes to fruition, companies who supply the oil and gas industry will obviously have opportunities to prosper. However, good fortune won't only be reserved for direct suppliers. Most area businesses will have an unparalleled opportunity to capitalize on the influx of new money being channeled into the community.”

In other words, even conservative observers believe shale energy can have a big upside in terms of jobs and associated economic activity, which is great news for an area that has known recent economic struggle.

More from Evans:

“Oil and gas development would mean Southeastern Ohio businesses finally would be able to shelve their recession survival plans and replace them with plans for business expansion. However, shifting to a growth mode won't happen automatically. There's challenge in managing growth, including controlling increased numbers of employees and responding to new human resource needs.”

Then there’s this from Vindy.com on a joint training program to develop the workers that will be needed when Ohio shale energy moves into high gear:

“The Shale Gas Training Program, a new venture between Eastern Gateway and Shale Net of the U.S. Department of Labor, has developed a recruitment, training, placement and retention program to provide the gas industry with a ready and well-trained local work force for in-demand occupations. It is currently in its second round of classes, and 18 already have graduated. It costs $2,400 to attend, but those costs are paid for if the students are eligible for Workforce Investment Act funding and pass the drug screening and background check.”

Current enrollment for the three-week program at Eastern Gateway Community College’s Steubenville campus is maxed out at 18 with more than 500 reportedly interested in signing up. The program’s coordinator says the placement rate for people who’ve completed the training is about 88 percent. Mark Waugh, a farmer from West Virginia who wants to leave agriculture:

“It’s really informative, there is a lot of information. It’s a lot of sitting and going over notes. Some of the stuff I thought I knew from the news turns out I didn’t know. .. I want to build a career, I’m starting out young. I’m only 19, so I’m just looking to make a living and have a future with a company that’s going to be around for a while.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.