The Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium (NTIEC) will host an open house at the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas (PNG) in Tunkhannock on Wednesday, Dec. 1 from 6 to 8:30 pm. The evening event is geared toward providing high school students and their parents an opportunity to learn about career options here and across the nation. The Tunkhannock Center is the only school of its kind in the eastern United States.
Guests can tour the PNG labs, sit in on a class and talk to instructors about pathways to family-sustaining jobs, and meet current and former students. “Who better to ask questions of than those who are enrolled at the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas and those who are already benefiting from its programs?” said Shealynn Shave, NTIEC executive director.
The School of Petroleum & Natural Gas opened in New Milford in 2010 and moved to 420 Tioga West Plaza in Tunkhannock during the past year. The new center more than doubled the space available for instruction and provides thousands of square feet for heavy equipment to be moved in and out as needed for hands-on training.
In addition to more space, school administrators like PNG program director Sue Gumble notes that the Tunkhannock location is more central to the pool of students they want to attract, affording equal access to students in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, as well as Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna counties. “Plus it’s so close to where most of the industry is, including Coterra, Southwestern (SWN), and Williams,” Gumble remarked. “It makes it a lot easier to get industry people here to lecture.”
Industry leaders have not only helped the School grow through funding and donations of materials, they also sit on an advisory panel that keeps administrators up to date on changes within the industry so that the curriculum can be modified to meet future needs. The same people work closely with the NTIEC to create programs and host tours of their facilities.
“The ongoing involvement with NTIEC and the schools by the gas companies and their industry partners shows that they are committed to staying and hiring our people,” said Deb Tierney, NTIEC educational coordinator and administrative systems leader. “The natural gas industry is here for the long term, and this open house perfectly fits our mission of creating a highly-skilled regional workforce through the integration of school employment and training processes.”
As of the end of this year, the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas will have graduated 322 students, many of them moving directly from internships arranged by school administrators and gas companies into full-time employment. The starting wages are high enough that many of the graduates are debt-free within two years of completing their certifications.
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The Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium (NTIEC) is a local grassroots organization founded in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school-to-work organization to serve students in the Northern Tier counties by integrating the education and employment processes. The basic premise is that students who have a good understanding of career opportunities, especially through first-hand experience, can make informed career and educational choices. Students who have mastered basic workplace skills and discipline are in a preferred position for hiring. Employers participate in the education process and benefit by having a stronger pool of employment candidates. Schools can show relevancy of academic work and have more motivated students. Students and parents both benefit by fewer false starts and a shorter path to appropriate degrees and certifications needed for career success.