STEUBENVILLE - Eastern Gateway Community College's lecture hall was standing-room only recently as area residents turned out en masse to find out more about getting jobs in the oil and gas industry.
The college hosted two shale training informational sessions one in the afternoon, the other in the evening to explain the process to those interested in finding work in the industry locally.
"What we've always wanted to provide is a trained workforce for the Marcellus and Utica shale industry," Eastern Gateway President Laura Meeks said. "This room tonight shows how powerful the work force is in the valley these people are focused, most of them are in their 30s or younger. You get the feeling they want to work."
Community members show interest in some of the requirements job applicants must meet to work in the shale oil and gas industry. More than 500 people attended a pair of informational sessions at Eastern Gateway Community College to learn more about the process. (Contributed)
Eastern Gateway is offering classes to prepare workers for jobs in the shale oil and gas industry through ShaleNET, a program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to Westmoreland County Community College.
Eastern Gateway's Tracee Joltes said applicants need to know the energy companies have high standards applicants must have a valid driver's license and be able to pass drugtests and a background check, among other things, prompting several men in the crowd to leave the lecture hall.
Shale jobs also require workers to be on site, working 12-hour shifts daily for two, sometimes three, weeks at a time. Those attending the sessions were warned that attendance and promptness are required.
She said the industry sees service veterans as high-priority hires.
Joltes said drug and background tests would be administered at the college from noon to 3 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m. today, and again on Jan. 24. Applicants must pay their own test fees.