Managing Editor of EndlessMtnLifestyles.com
Local fifth and sixth graders were able to get up close, hands on access to trucks, rigs and equipment they may see every day at the Vehicular Career Day.
The Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium (NTEIC) was formed about 25 years ago. Among the unique activities the organization has devised to teach youths about the businesses in the area is Vehicular Career Day, which began about 15 years ago.
The event got a big boost when the gas industry moved to town and continues to grow. More than 400 fifth and sixth-graders from at least five Susquehanna County school districts convened at the Harford Fair Grounds on May 9 to see trucks, rigs and equipment of all shapes and sizes.
“Since the gas industry came to the area, we’ve had more employers involved, and more interesting vehicles,” said Pete Butler NTEIC executive director. As production of natural gas increased, Butler related, so did the number of support industries now also represented on Vehicular Career Day. “Energy is such a big career fair, we’d be remiss not to include them.”
“Cabot looks forward to partnering in Vehicular Career Day every year,” Cabot external affairs coordinator Bill desRosiers explained. “We worked again with our partner Keane to bring out a double fluid pump. The students really enjoy climbing into the control unit, seeing all of the switches and buttons, walking around the large engines, and asking questions about how the unit is used in the field.”
Keane Group site supervisor Nicholas Machusak was on hand to answer questions of the students as they stared up at the massive water compressor. Right next to them was Southwestern Energy (SWN), describing all the gear stored on a production roustabout truck “This is our life support,” SWN’s Tucker Vail told the youths. “This carries what we need to work every day.”
SWN maintenance foreman Anthony Mouro conveyed the importance of giving students a close-up view and explanation of the vehicles and the equipment. “They see these moving down the road every day, and now they have an idea of what it does,” he stated.
“Our operations are visible across the Northern Tier, SWN director of government and community relations Mike Narcavage concurred. “To be a good neighbor, SWN believes it’s important to be active in the community and to also demonstrate the types of jobs that are available in our industry.”
“If they have a parent or family friend who works in the industry, maybe they’ll understand a little more about what they do,” Williams Midstream public outreach coordinator Tammy Bonnice added.
From a practical standpoint, Mark Kozemko of the Johnson College tells the young students that it is common for them to change their minds several times before they narrow their focus onto a particular career. In the meantime, he said, “You give them a taste of the different technologies that are out there.”
“They are never too young to learn what opportunities are available for them to experience. The children are the workforce of our future,” said Bonnice, who noted that career fairs are one of her favorite parts of her job.
“No matter what career they ultimately choose, it’s important for them to see the types of jobs that are right here in their back yard,” Narcavage remarked.
In addition to energy-related equipment brought to the fairgrounds, students had an opportunity to climb into ambulances, fire trucks, police cruisers, and tow trucks, and learn about the services offered at a senior living center and how horses can be used for therapy.
The event has gained popularity with the schools too, Butler noted. Attendance by students this year was the best yet.
“You can tell from the level of participation that students really enjoy the hands-on opportunity Vehicular Career Day affords them,” desRosiers noted. “Having this kind of exposure definitely shapes their future career interests.”