The supply of energy sources in the United States is definitely on the upswing.
New technology, combined with the high price of oil, has brought previously unproductive sources of energy to the market.
There has even been talk of the United States moving toward energy independence in the not-too-distant future.
Of course, there are environmental issues that must be debated and solved, but the fact is that hydrocarbons are going to be a major part of the country’s energy puzzle for the foreseeable future as work continues on alternative, renewable forms of energy.
It’s no secret that affordable energy resources in sufficient supply drive the nation’s economy.
West Virginia, with its abundant natural resources, is in position to be a major player.
That’s why we appreciate this week’s announcement of the launch of the Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center. James Skidmore, chancellor of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, presided over the announcement on Wednesday at the Robert H. Mollohan Center in Fairmont.
We’ve stressed over the years that without quality education, it’s impossible to see real economic development in West Virginia.
It’s all about people and training.
If West Virginians are going to fully benefit as progress in the energy industry is made, its people must be qualified to perform the work. As The State Journal pointed out, drilling in the Marcellus Shale started in recent years, and many of the jobs are going to out-of-state workers who already have training and experience in the industry.
“The purpose of the program is we want to provide opportunities for West Virginians to be prepared and have the technical skills to get the high-wage jobs in the oil and gas industry,” Skidmore said. “At the same time, it will provide a skilled workforce for those companies operating in West Virginia.”
The program will be offered through Pierpont Community & Technical College in Fairmont as well as West Virginia Northern Community College beginning in the fall of 2013, and the first set of students will graduate in May 2014.
“This program is one I believe will continue and sustain the economic growth for this region and our entire state,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said.
Both Pierpont and WVNCC will offer associate and certificate programs and will be equipped with indoor drilling simulators. An outdoor simulated drilling lab will be located in Fairmont for shared use between the colleges.
Dr. Doreen Larson, president of Pierpont, said she is proud of the opportunity the institution will be providing its students.
“Pierpont Community & Technical College certainly is excited to be a provider of this new program,” Larson said. “The curriculum for this petroleum technology program is founded upon industry needs, the unique needs of the Appalachian region and to boost our economy now and in the future.”
Funding has already come into the program.
“Currently, we have been fortunate enough that we received a $250,000 grant from the Benedum Foundation," Skidmore said. "That will help with the cost of establishing and delivering the program. We also have received donations from employers, oil and gas industry companies, and we hope to get equipment donated for the simulation lab from companies. Of course, there will be cost of instructors and maintaining faculty. Those will be paid through the college. We would anticipate investing in the neighborhood of a half million dollars of state funding to establish the program. That depends on the donations and equipment donations we get from employers and the industry."
Ron Walsmith, Petroleum Technology Program director, said the program’s curriculum, which emphasizes safety, is second to none.
“It’s such a dynamic curriculum,” Walsmith said. “It has the potential to be the best two-year training program in oil and gas in the United States.”
The next step, of course, is to get students involved. Those interested in the Petroleum Technology Program may call Pierpont at 304-367-4920 or WVNCC at 304-214-8975.
We’re looking forward to more career opportunities for West Virginians and to an improving energy situation for the United States.
The supply of energy sources in the United States is definitely on the upswing.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives