W.Va. college’s oil, gas program sees early success

Times West Virginian photo by Emily Gallagher Students in Pierpont Community & Technical College’s Petroleum Program Michael O’Connor (right), Adam Taylor (center right) and Sam Aliveto (center left) demonstrate skills they’ve learned within the program to state Sen. Erik Wells (left) on Tuesday.

 

Times West Virginian photo by Emily Gallagher Students in Pierpont Community & Technical College’s Petroleum Program Michael O’Connor (right), Adam Taylor (center right) and Sam Aliveto (center left) demonstrate skills they’ve learned within the program to state Sen. Erik Wells (left) on Tuesday.
Times West Virginian photo by Emily Gallagher
Students in Pierpont Community & Technical College’s Petroleum Program Michael O’Connor (right), Adam Taylor (center right) and Sam Aliveto (center left) demonstrate skills they’ve learned within the program to state Sen. Erik Wells (left) on Tuesday.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Members of the state Legislature learned more about workforce development being on the rise in North Central West Virginia thanks to a program provided by Pierpont Community & Technical College.

During a joint meeting Tuesday at the college between the West Virginia Legislature Committee on Education and Committee on Finance, delegates and senators learned firsthand how Pierpont’s Petroleum Technology Program gives students the skills needed to excel in the oil and gas industry.

Paul Schreffler, vice president for workforce at Pierpont, explained to state officials how the Petroleum Tech Program has grown in its first year. The program began in the fall of 2013.

“We’ve gone from zero to 60 students in one year,” he said.

Schreffler said gaining support from oil and gas companies like Noble Energy will help grow the program. School officials expect to at least double the number of students in the next year. To keep up with the demand, Schreffler said at least two more instructors will have to be hired.

The program is offered at Pierpont’s campus and the West Virginia Northern Community College campus in Wheeling. Students earn a Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) in petroleum technology or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in petroleum technology by graduating from the program.

Schreffler said the first graduation of the program will be held in May 2015.

Officials also heard from companies that have had students enrolled in the program participate in internships, and students in the program talked about their experiences while in the program and during internships.

Deborah Degner, with Noble Energy, told the legislators that after interviewing about 12 students from the Petroleum Technology Program for a summer internship, it was hard to narrow it down to just a few…

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