Stark State College in Stark County's Jackson Township is getting federal funds to provide additional training for workers in the natural gas drilling industry.
Stark State College will participate in the Pennsylvania College of Technology Consortium to provide entry-level certifications in Ohio's Utica shale and to add a series of certificates and degree programs for drilling employees.
The consortium will get nearly $15 million for the training program.
The initiative will incorporate four primary components of oil and natural gas production and consumption: upstream, midstream, downstream, and instrumentation/electronics.
The grant was among $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for innovative training programs announced by U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
"These federal grants are part of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to strengthening American businesses by strengthening the American workforce," Secretary Solis said. "This strategic investment will enhance ties among community colleges, universities, employers and other local partners while ensuring that students have access to the skills and resources they need to compete for high-wage, high-skill careers."
The initiative complements President Obama's broader goals to help ensure that every American has at least one year of postsecondary education and that the U.S. has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Through this initiative, each state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million in dedicated funding for community college career training programs.
In total, 297 schools will receive grants as individual applicants or as members of a consortium. The grants include 27 awards to community college and university consortia totaling $359,237,048 and 27 awards to individual institutions totaling $78,262,952. Twenty-five states that were without a winning individual submission will be contacted to develop a qualifying $2.5 million project.
Educational institutions will use these funds to create affordable training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free, digital learning materials. All education materials developed through the grants will be available for use by the public and other education providers through a Creative Commons license.
In other Ohio grants, Sinclair Community College in Dayton is the consortium leader for this grant to develop training in information technology. Consortium members include Austin Community College and Broward College. It wil get nearly $12 million.
Rhodes Sate Community College in Lima will participate in the Henry Ford Community College Consortium in Dearborn. Mich., which is receiving a grant of $15 million to bridge the disconnect between the needs of the workplace and the content of manufacturing curriculum..
These grants emphasize evidence-based program design. Each grantee is required to collect rigorous student outcome data annually and conduct final evaluations at the end of the grant period to build knowledge about which strategies are most effective in placing graduates in jobs.
Learn more about the grant program at http://www.doleta.gov/taaccct.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.