CENTER TWP. – What’s next?
That’s the question Greg Barrett is excited to see answered.
Barrett is a sales manager with RDM Equipment Co., a Wooster, Ohio-based company that works in the oil and gas industry. He remembers when drilling vertical wells was the norm and has worked through the boom caused by the advent of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale.
“I’m waiting to see what this generation comes up with,” Barrett said during a break in the stream of high school students Friday at the 2015 Beaver County Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Day at Community College of Beaver County.
“One day, that (horizontal drilling) will be obsolete,” Barrett said. “It’s just neat what the future might hold for these guys and what they’ll come up with.”
“These guys” are the young men and women from Beaver County’s high schools and Ellwood City Area School District who visited CCBC on Friday to interact with people who work for more than 20 companies looking to hire workers in the region.
The event is one of the fruits of more than a year’s worth of work between the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce and the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit to “connect the dots” between high school and college students and businesses.
“That’s really what we’re trying to do,” said Erica Loftus, chamber president. “This is the capstone event of a yearlong partnership with the school districts.”
It’s also just the start of what might happen between the groups in the future, said Marianne LeDonne, director of educational innovation for the BVIU. “We don’t know where this is going to go; we’re on the ground floor of so many programs,” LeDonne said.
The door’s now open between the groups, she said. “This is going to take us so far into the future,” she said.
It’s something that befits her job title. It’s also a good step to help students, educators and business people work together more, LeDonne said.
“We just don’t know what might spark them today,” she said of the students who attended.
“It’s pretty cool,” New Brighton High School freshman Justin Schnitz said. “I’m just checking out everything I could possibly do.He’s taking a look at the oil and gas industry and said he might want to be an engineer.
Events like Friday’s are something Drew Enochs wishes existed when she was in high school 12 years ago. She “ended up” training to become an engineer at the University of Pittsburgh and now works at Nova Chemicals as a process safety engineer.
The event offered kids a chance to get a feel for what different fields of work are actually like, she said, and it could improve their career-path decisions. “Going to college is an expensive way to guess,” what you want to do, Enochs said.
It was also a good way for companies to promote what they do and get kids excited about their fields.
“It’s really important for us,” said David Bachman, a product marketplace manager at C3 Controls, Vanport Township. “We want to grow, we want to stay here, we want to get kids excited, Bachman said. “We need more people and we need people with skills.”
Jim Masterson, director of operations of Ardex Engineered Cements in Center Township agreed. “Anything we can do to lay the foundation for a local workforce,” is a good thing, Masterson said.
“There are local opportunities,” he said.
This article was written by Tom Davidson from Beaver County Times, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.