Collegiate Consortium Develops Natural Gas Workforce Development Initiative
(Philadelphia • June 6, 2016)—Today, the Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, in partnership with PECO and with the support of other industry counterparts, announced the availability of a new introductory training program to develop a skilled natural gas workforce. The Gas Distribution Pipeline Mechanic Introduction Program was developed to provide students with the fundamental skills necessary to work in the natural gas distribution industry.
“Today, the Collegiate Consortium, a group made up of higher education institutions throughout the region, is pleased to partner with natural gas industry leaders on providing the skill-specific training needed to ensure the flow of safe, reliable natural gas to homes and businesses,” said Dr. Jerry Parker, president of Delaware County Community College and chairman of the Collegiate Consortium.
“This new program is an example of our longstanding partnership and years of hard work with the community colleges in the Greater Philadelphia region,” said Mike Innocenzo, senior vice president and COO, PECO. “We are proud to support the development of the curriculum. This program will help our industry identify qualified individuals to complete this important work to ensure safe and reliable service for our customers and provide family-sustaining jobs in our region.”
“Philadelphia Gas Works has been preparing for the future of the natural gas industry for some time,” states Craig White, president and CEO of PGW, one of the industry partners lending time and expertise to create the curriculum. “We have a domestic supply of natural gas right here in Pennsylvania that can attract jobs, support families and lift the regional economy for generations to come. Demand is growing and our companies need trained, capable, professional employees. We need them now, and we’re going to need them far into the future. This program helps address that need.”
This hands-on program prepares students for entry-level employment in the natural gas industry. Students will learn how to install and maintain pipelines for natural gas distribution systems. Upon successful completion, students will receive an operator qualified (OQ) certification. More than 600 skilled workers are expected to be needed for repair and replacement of distribution pipelines in the region over the next several years, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
The curriculum was developed through a coordinated effort led by the Collegiate Consortium in partnership with PECO and was supported by industry counterparts, including Philadelphia Gas Works, Henkels & McCoy and Utility Line Services.
The Collegiate Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development is a non-profit organization that is a partnership of Drexel University and five area community colleges: Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, Bucks County Community College, Camden County College and Montgomery County Community College.
The Consortium provides a comprehensive, coordinated approach to developing a highly skilled workforce for the region. The combined efforts of the five community colleges, which emphasize advanced technical training, and a university, which offers advanced education, creates a unique model for education and training.