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New Natural Gas Cohort

Precision Technology Institute (PMI) Executive Director Chuck Guiste teaching the class of natural gas technology students.

The first cohort of students enrolled in the new natural gas technology program at Clarion University-Venango Campus began courses this week. Courses are taught at the Venango Campus and at Precision Manufacturing Institute (PMI) in Meadville, Clarion's technical education partner in the concentration. Students will graduate in December 2012 with a Clarion University Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology degree, with a concentration in natural gas technology. Students are currently being enrolled for fall 2011 and spring 2012 program starts.

"As soon as I heard about this program, I contacted the university," said student Dan Kahle of Knox. "I've been interested in Marcellus Shale and have been keeping track of what's going on. It can do a lot of good for this area and be a big benefit here and for the United States. I want to be a part of that."

Student Mike Pence of Brookville agreed. "This is a chance to be a part of an industry that's growing in the region, not one that's leaving the area."

For most of the students in the current class, the natural gas technology program is a chance to start a new career. They come from jobs in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, and from the military. Several of the students are receiving funding through the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Act, which provides displaced workers with educational benefits for retraining for new high-demand careers.

"The natural gas program is an exceptional opportunity for individuals to get in on the ground floor of the rapidly growing natural gas-related industries armed with the educational background that will put them far ahead of those with technical skills alone," said Dr. Christopher M. Reber, executive dean of Venango Campus. "In less than two years, these students will earn a Clarion University degree that will prepare them for immediate employment and future education for upward mobility into leadership and management positions."

According to Dr. Bill Hallock, chair of Clarion's Department of Applied Technology, the program was designed by employers in the industry. "We developed this program in cooperation with leaders in the industry, such as the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association and others, and we continue to seek their valuable input as we move forward."

Chuck Guiste, executive director of PMI, is teaching a technical course this summer. "As I told these students, there is no fluff in this program," he said. "The technical education courses are important, but you also need to have good written and verbal communication skills and other skills to perform well in an interview and get that job and then to succeed in it. This is a value-added degree program and every single course is meaningful to your future career."

For more information, contact the office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 814-676-6591, ext. 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.

6/14/2011 10:30 AM

Students Take First Step Toward a Career in Natural Gas Industry at Clarion University–Venango Campus