ShaleNET receives Energy Leadership Award

ShaleNET, a federally funded training program, recently received the Energy Leadership Award in Workforce Development at an annual awards ceremony sponsored by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

ShaleNET was launched in 2010 with a $4.96 million Community Based Job Training grant awarded to Westmoreland County Community College by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Pennsylvania College of Technology, the Allegheny Conference for Community Development and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association were the other partners in the original grant-funded program.

Accepting the award at a Business Times-hosted Energy Gala in Washington County were Patrick Gerity, vice president of continuing education, workforce and community development, Westmoreland County Community College, and Tracy L. Brundage, assistant vice president for workforce and economic development, Penn College.

Other ShaleNET team members present for the awards ceremony were Byron Kohut, director, Western Hub ShaleNET, WCCC; Lea Pizzutelli, Western Hub Marcellus ShaleNET career coach, WCCC; Elaine Fisher, Western Hub Marcellus ShaleNET grant technician, WCCC; Louis D’Amico, president and executive director, PIOGA; Danielle Boston, director of administration, PIOGA; Dan Weaver, director of public outreach, PIOGA; Meredith Fahey, workplace project manager, Allegheny Conference on Community Development; Larry L. Michael, retired assistant vice president for workforce development and special projects, Penn College; David C. Pistner, director of energy initiatives, Penn College; Alice M. Schuster, ShaleNET project director, Penn College; and John F. Strittmatter, director, ShaleNET Regional Hub, Penn College.

The business-to-business networking event was a tribute to the strong impact and success that the energy sector has in western Pennsylvania.

“This evening was an opportunity for the ShaleNET team to celebrate with economic-development, workforce-development and industry partners who have been instrumental in the success of the initiative,” Brundage said.

The original intent of ShaleNET was to respond quickly to natural gas industry needs by creating an efficient entry-level training program featuring five high-demand occupations. The grant exceeded all of its benchmarks and goals.

The ShaleNET Talent Matching System educated 14,800 individuals on the benefits of entry-level jobs in the natural gas industry. Through the grant, 978 individuals – including veterans, the unemployed and underemployed – completed training and attained up to five industry-recognized certifications. More than 3,400 found employment through June 2013, and 82 percent are still employed a year after placement.

In October 2012, ShaleNET received another grant of $14.96 million – awarded to Penn College through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.

The new ShaleNET grant also features participation from Westmoreland County Community College, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas; Stark State College, Canton, Ohio; and key employers including Chevron, Shell, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy, XTO and Encana.

The $14.96 million grant awarded to Penn College focuses on building capacity, expanding geographically and funding the development of well-site training labs at each consortium college, incorporating a new “stackable-credential” model.

Stackable credentials allow multiple entry and exit points to those seeking an education. Four certificates and two associate-degree programs were added, culminating – if desired – in a bachelor’s degree. ShaleNET provides support for participants through dedicated career counselors and enhanced training program curricula.

Through the first year of the second grant, 456 participants have been served by enrolling in one of the programs leading to an industry-recognized credential. The students completed a total of 5,437 credit hours and earned a total of 235 credentials.

Halfway through the second year of the grant, ShaleNET has served a total of 701 participants, exceeding the goal of 601 for two years by 16.6 percent. Some of the 18 credit and noncredit ShaleNET programs launched to date include Roustabout, Floorhand, Production Technician, Mechatronics, Pipeline Technician, Instrumentation and Electronics, and Industrial Process Operation.

To learn more about ShaleNET and the natural gas industry, join the other 15,097 who have been educated through or visit ShaleNET on Facebook.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, visit, email or call 800-367-9222.

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Last Updated June 04, 2014