The best thing about Marcellus Shale has been its power to drive job creation, demonstrated in a fun way again this year at Vehicular Career Day.
Vehicular Career Day organizer Shealynn Shave looked to the dreary skies warily as the gray clouds blanketed the Harford Fairgrounds on Wednesday, May 6. Rain threatened the outdoor event all morning; in fact a planned exhibitor was forced to stay home because of downpours in her home town of Nicholson. However, that didn’t stop the nearly two dozen vendors and over 600 fifth grade students from various area school districts, including Wyalusing, Tunkhannock and Elk Lake, from coming to the fairgrounds for a combination of fun and education.
The main goal of the career day, organized by the Northern Tier Industry and Education Consortium (NTIEC), is to “provide students with an up-close look at what skills are necessary in today’s job market,” according to written information provided during the event. “The primary objective is for the students to make the critical connections between education and success on the job. Students will be introduced to various careers and the necessary workplace skills needed in those careers.”
The event was held at the Harford Fairgrounds for the third consecutive year and featured a large variety of vehicles and careers with which students could interact, from blowing the horn of a tractor trailer to petting an adoption dog from the True Friends Animal Welfare Center. Vehicles included a cement mixer truck, CNG vehicles and crane trucks.
Southwestern Energy (SWN) featured a roustabout crew and allowed students to participate in a unique hands-on activity: bending pipe.
“It gives the students a challenge while at the same time giving them a first-hand look at what kinds of jobs are available in the gas industry,” SWN Community Relations Manager Mike Narcavage said.
The students traversed the fairgrounds in small groups, with all having the opportunity to interact directly with representatives of the various companies and industries, which they took full advantage of.
“Many of the students know someone who is employed in the oil and gas industry,” stated Daria Fish, media relations for Chief Oil & Gas. “They asked specific questions about career pathways and opportunities within the industry.” Fish was joined by Eric McClure, Chief’s environmental / geographic information system (GIS) specialist, who highlighted mapping and environmental inspections. They also displayed some of the personal protective equipment required to be on a pad location: hardhats, steel-toed boots, fire resistant clothing.
Safety was a topic that Bill desRosiers of Cabot Oil & Gas noticed reflected strongly with the students. “We’ve had some great questions from students on the subjects of safety and training,” he said. “Safety is paramount in our industry and it’s great to be able to share the safety standards and the dozens of hours of training with these students. We describe our favorite parts of the job as well, which establishes ideas for them and what they’d like to do down the road.”
Williams participated in the event for the second year and covered a variety of topics.
“It’s always great to interact with students and be able to tell them what Williams does and what kinds of jobs we can offer,” Williams’ Mike Atchie said. “With the focus on this event being on vehicles, we’re able to bring a CNG truck and talk about the vehicular side of the industry.”
Another NTIEC organizer, Marlene Butler, was thrilled with the turnout and results of the Vehicular Career Day.
“We’re very fortunate to have gas companies like Chief, Cabot, Williams and SWN helping with this event,” she said. “They’ve been very supportive and we can’t thank them nor our other supporters like Masters Concrete and PennDOT and everyone else enough for giving up their time and energy to be here. Folks love to come here and be a part of it and once they do it once, they can’t not do it again.”