Northeastern Pennsylvania gas companies went to Valley View High School in Lackawanna County to sponsor an energy fair introducing youth to energy careers.
The growth and dedication that has been displayed between the natural gas industry and educational institutions over the years has been staggering. While much of that relationship has been amongst local area colleges, high schools have been becoming closely involved too, as evidenced by the Energy Education Program offered at Valley View High School in Archbald.
As this blog has noted before, the Energy Education Program offered by Valley View is the first of its kind in the state, as it brings energy-specific curriculum to the high school level and was developed as a collaboration between industry experts and school officials. The course covers nine different types of energy and regularly features speakers from the various industries.
But on Friday, Dec. 18, Valley View took the next big step in its program and hosted its first Energy Fair, which was planned and organized by the Energy Education Program class.
The event gave the approximately 400 students that participated the chance to directly interact with employees of the natural gas and other energy industries and a variety of service companies, as well as a number of colleges.
“We wanted to talk to students about our energy portfolio, our project in Jessup, and the other energies we’re involved in,” Invenergy Manager of State Government Affairs Harry Godfrey said. “We’re a part of wind and solar across a wide variety of projects and today we wanted to continue to develop the new energy industry and resources.”
Science teacher and a developer of the high school program Rachel Michos said that the energy fair provided an introduction to the career paths in multiple energy industries, from renewables to non-renewables.
“There’s something for everyone and the students have been extremely receptive,” she noted. “Every skillset has an opportunity in the energy industry and we hope to make this annual event for our students.”
Several companies brought actual equipment for the students to see first-hand, with Cabot Oil and Gas displaying a meter and the computer that runs a rig, Selman & Associates showing off actual Marcellus shale and a scaled version of the drilling process and Williams bringing a “pig” that is used for pipeline operations.
“What we really want to show is the variety of careers that are available in the industry,” Cabot’s Bill desRosiers said. “People see the drilling rigs or the fracturing process and think that’s it. But there’s technology, media, geology, computer science careers. There’s lots of careers that don’t need a four year degree. So we just wanted to showcase all of the different opportunities that are available.”
UGI Utilities Project Leader Joseph Bauman echoed desRosiers’ words, noting that the opportunities in energy are endless and that he loved being able to interact with students to make them aware of them.
“There are hundreds of fields that are required just to make a company like UGI run,” he said. “We have jobs for young people and they don’t need to go to a four year college to do it. And the more important message here is that it is all about developing cleaner energy, which is what UGI does with natural gas.”
The energy fair provided a different opportunity for Southwestern Energy Community Relations Manager and Valley View Alumnus Mike Narcavage, who was able to return to his alma mater to represent his company.
“As an employee of the natural gas industry and student of Valley View, I’m proud to be able to return and talk to students about careers in the natural gas and energy industries,” he said. “This event is an extension of a one-of-a-kind high school energy class, and hopefully it becomes replicated in other parts of Pennsylvania.”