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Clarion University–Venango Campus announces a new concentration within its Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology (AAS-IT) degree to prepare students for upward career mobility in Marcellus-related and other natural gas industries. An open house for potential students interested in the natural gas technology concentration, offered through Clarion's Department of Applied Technology in partnership with Precision Manufacturing Institute (PMI) of Meadville, will be held at 6 p.m. March 16 in the Robert W. Rhoades Center at the Venango Campus.

"My colleagues and I are very pleased to announce this unique new program for the residents of our region and beyond who want to prepare for the growing employment opportunities available in this emerging industry," said Dr. Christopher M. Reber, executive dean of Venango Campus. "Through our partnership with PMI, students will receive technical training that is relevant for entry-level employment, and a Clarion University associate degree that will provide the foundation for upward career mobility and/or continued education immediately or in the future."

"We are excited to be partnering with Clarion University on this Natural Gas concentration," said Chuck Guiste, executive director of PMI. "Precision Manufacturing Institute has been providing technical training for industry in the region for over twenty years. Our partnership with Clarion University has enabled us to better meet the needs of employers by offering meaningful training programs with both the technical and soft skills that are critical to all industries. The new Natural Gas concentration is the latest example of PMI and Clarion University's dedication to responding quickly to the changing needs of our region's industry."

The 19-month Natural Gas Technology associate degree program will prepare students for a wide range of entry-level employment opportunities. Students earn transcripted university credit for technical as well as general education courses and graduate with a Clarion University Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology degree.

The first offering of the Natural Gas program will begin in early June 2011, and will run continually through December 2012, and the program will continue to be offered in the future at times that meet the needs of students and the industry. A comprehensive curriculum includes industrial technology courses related to the natural gas industry and general education courses.

"We worked very closely with leaders in the oil and gas industry to ensure that the curriculum provides students the best foundation for upward mobility in the industry," said Dr. William Hallock, chair of the department of applied technology. "Their help was invaluable in creating the best possible program for students interested in getting a quick start on a job with an eye on a future leadership position."

"While the development of natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale is in its earliest phase, the demand for a skilled workforce is already expanding rapidly. The growth of the natural gas industry in the area already has created an estimated 88,000 jobs and holds the potential to more than double that number in the next decade," said Danielle Boston, director of Public Outreach for the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association. "Clarion University's Natural Gas Technology associate degree program gives the student a strong foundation for the skills and knowledge that are needed for this industry and prepares them for many different aspects of this industry. This 19-month program allows the candidate to enter the workforce in a short timeframe and allows for future growth if the candidate chooses to continue his or her educational advancement."

The curriculum is designed to simultaneously blend general education and business courses with technical courses that familiarize students with natural gas industry and processes. Courses will also ensure that students receive in-depth knowledge of critical industrial safety standards and practices related to working in confined spaces with hazardous materials and energy, hazard communication, fire protection and electrical safety, welding, and others. Students will learn the theory of maintenance and gain the skills necessary to maintain electrical/mechanical equipment used in industrial settings. Courses will include industrial process control instrumentation concepts, devices, and systems and the basic principles of fluid power, component operation, circuit design, and applications. Students will also gain an understanding of programmable logic controllers, engine and compressor operations, as well as issues and applications facing petroleum facilities and networks.

Randy Seitz, president and CEO of the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry, and Tourism (ORA), sees the degree program as especially beneficial to the recruitment of new industry. "The ORA is very excited about the potential for job growth and regional investment that the drilling and production of Marcellus Shale will provide," he said. "Our short-term strategy is to position the Oil Region to be a ‘business friendly' community ready and poised to meet the demands of Marcellus Shale producers and their suppliers. We will be aggressively going after and recruiting these companies, as well as preparing local businesses to supply to Marcellus Shale gas producers. We are particularly excited because the Clarion University Marcellus Shale academic program will help position us to better recruit these companies and opportunities through a better-educated and more prepared workforce."

The Industrial Technology program at Clarion University-Venango Campus was awarded full national accreditation in 2009 by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), the premier professional association for the accreditation of industrial technology programs in colleges, universities, and technical institutes. It is the only associate degree program in Pennsylvania that is accredited by ATMAE.

For more information, or to register for the open house, contact the office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 814-676-6591, ext. 1275 or 1211.

Clarion University–Venango Campus, located in Oil City, is the oldest regional campus in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. The campus provides high-quality educational programs and personalized services to help students succeed. Students can begin any of Clarion University's 90+ bachelor's degrees at the Venango Campus, earn an associate degree, a bachelor's or master's degree in select areas, obtain a one-year certificate or participate in a variety of professional development and personal enrichment courses. The campus is home to Clarion University's School of Nursing and Allied Health, the Department of Applied Technology, and the Venango Department of Arts and Sciences. Clarion University–Venango Campus is committed to serving the needs of the community.


3/4/2011 12:00 PM

Venango Campus announces program for Marcellus shale-related career preparation