The Times West Virginian

October 19, 2013

Pierpont receives Dominion Foundation grant for Petroleum Technology Program

By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Pierpont Community & Technical College has received a $25,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation to be used for the up-and-coming Petroleum Technology Program.

“Dominion provides energy in multiple forms throughout the state for both our personal residences and industries,” Paul Schreffler, vice president for Workforce Development, said. “They’ve been a good corporate citizen in giving foundation grants out over they years and have been a really strong supporter of education. We’re happy they’re invested in our program.”

Bob Orndorff, managing director for Dominion, said the grant will produce mutually beneficial results.

“Your success leads to our success,” Orndorff told Pierpont officials Friday during a check presentation. “We want to see trained, well-qualified employees in the future, and this is an opportunity for community colleges to step up and make it happen.”

The program, which launched this fall, aims to train technicians in all areas of the oil and gas industry from drilling to delivery. Upon completion, graduates of the program are expected to quickly find high-paying jobs in the industry.

“The bottom line is this industry provides family-supporting wages for people in the state, and that’s what we really want to support,” Schreffler said. “Having those jobs at the end of this program that there is a need for in the industry is really what we’re about as a community college.” 

According to Schreffler, the grant money will be used for tools and equipment that are necessary to the hands-on components of the program.

 Earlier this week, Pierpont also announced its acceptance of a land donation that will provide space for those hands-on, laboratory components.

The Marion Regional Development Corp. donated close to 20 acres of land in the Marion Regional Business Park to Pierpont that will be used for a simulated drilling rig.

Through these recent contributions and future industry partnerships, Ron Walsmith, a petroleum technology instructor, believes the program will be able to produce qualified individuals who can fill the in demand jobs that exist within the oil and gas industry.

“Dominion has come forth and been a pioneer in making this donation and stepping up and saying, ‘We really want this and we need it,’” Walsmith said. “It’s one of many building blocks to making this the premier two-year oil and gas program in the nation.” 

Email Kaylyn Christopher at or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.