Lackawanna School of Petroleum and Natural Gas is only the second college in the country to have a Check-6 Well Control Virtual Instructor to provide hands-on training to its students.
Since the natural gas industry boom began in the Marcellus Shale, education has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. Education about the industry and how it could help businesses, landowners, and, equally important but perhaps more widespread, careers. Job training has been they key focus for many local area career centers and colleges, and Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas (PNG) has been one of the leaders in this department.
One of the latest examples in the college’s mission to offer top-notch industry training came in April, when the school bought the Well Control Virtual Instructor (VI) from Check-6 International using a $150,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Bureau of Workforce Investment Administration, making it only the second college in the nation to have the instructor.
“Adding the state-of-the-art Check-6 Well Control VI to our curriculum will enhance our students’ learning experience and provide hands-on well control practice, reinforcing our vision of preparing our graduates to be effective employees in the oil and gas industry from day one,” PNG Founding Dean Richard Marquardt said in a press release.
The Well Control VI is a training and simulation program that offers over 120 lessons and sessions designed to train both students and employees on how to handle potential well control incidents. For PNG, Check-6 also donated the program’s Learning Management System, which, along with the VI, brings the total investment up to $400,000.
“This innovative, hands-on training system is playing a critical role in sustaining competency in today’s oilfield, and will prepare the petroleum and natural gas students for their future careers and real-world well control situations in the Marcellus, and around the world,” said Jason McAlister, vice president of operations for Check-6 Training Systems.
Since 2007, Check-6 has made it its mission to bring the same safety and training standards from the military and commercial aviation industry to other high consequence industries, such as mining, manufacturing, transportation, medical, power and marine, in addition to the oil and gas industry and has served numerous clients such as NASA, Chevron and Hess.
Here is a demo of the Well Control Simulator from Check-6:
The Well Control VI is expected to be installed at the New Milford PNG campus by the end of Autumn, and Check-6 personnel will be on hand to bring college instructors up to speed on how the system works. The VI will include two workstations as well as a 60 inch HD touch-screen monitor for the front of the classroom.
This investment in workforce education is another step in seeing Pennsylvania become a leader not only in natural gas production, but in expertise as well. During the open house that announced the Well Control VI purchase, Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board Director Stephanie Larkin highlighted some of the key Marcellus Shale-driven impacts in the state’s workforce, including higher wages and increased employment. The industry, itself, has also invested significantly in developing Pennsylvania’s natural gas workforce, one of the best examples being Cabot Oil & Gas’s $2.5 million gift to Lackawanna College, but there are many other cases of industry and education partnerships from around the region.
Marquardt noted that these partnerships are working in helping the local workforce gain quick, family-sustaining employment.
“Seventy percent of our graduates are hired by major exploration and petroleum, midstream and pipeline companies, and the Well Control VI training system will allow them to be even more effective in their future careers,” he said.