Noble Energy Inc. announced last month it will become a founding partner, with the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia, of the new West Virginia Community College Petroleum Tech Program.
As a founding partner, Noble Energy will invest $250,000 as a one-time donation in the institution's one-year certifications and two-year degree programs focused on shale exploration and production. The WVCTCS program is one of only 14 in the United States.
The announcement was made at an event in Charleston. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Gary Willingham, senior vice president of Noble Energy's Onshore Region were joined by the administrators and students of Pierpont Community and Technical College and West Virginia Northern Community College to celebrate the announcement. Both schools are offering the new program.
Noble Energy has invested $250,000 to become a founding partner of the Petroleum Technology program being offered at West Virginia Northern Community College and Pierpont Community and Technical College. Meeting with West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, center, are from left, Dr. Martin J. Olshinsky, WVNCC president; Dr. Doreen Larson, Pierpont president; Gary Willingham, senior vice president of Noble Energy’s Onshore Region; and James Skidmore, chancellor of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia.
"Education and workforce development are essential when competing for economic development opportunities," Tomblin said. "Our community and technical colleges have stepped up to the task of giving companies investing in West Virginia the opportunity to grow with a skilled workforce - developing real-world curriculum to meet the needs of new businesses. Collaborations between industry and education, like this one between Noble Energy and the Community Technical College System of West Virginia, are essential in preparing our students with skilled training to meet the needs of new business in the Mountain State. These partnerships and the education reforms underway in West Virginia are vital to continued workforce development programs."
Noble Energy's contribution will help participating schools purchase equipment for hands-on training; offer scholarships; and fund recruiting efforts to attract students to the program from around the region. In addition, Noble Energy will offer internships to students enrolled in the program, provide field tours of operations and facilities, and offer employee expertise in the classroom.
"We worked with CTCS to develop this partnership to further the company's purpose: energizing the world, bettering people's lives. The grant helps students achieve the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the region's growing job opportunities in natural gas exploration and production," Willingham said. "We intend to continue our trend of hiring locally and this program helps build and maintain a pipeline of trained, skilled graduates who will be prepared to work in this industry, in this region, for many years to come."
"This contribution from Noble Energy is a great example of how an industry recognizes and rewards a community college who 'gets it right'," Pierpont Community & Technical College President Dr. Doreen Larson said. "The Chancellor facilitated deep research with local and national industries and the Petroleum Technology curriculum was developed to serve the program, rather than trying to fit the program into some existing curriculum. The family of students, staff and faculty of Pierpont truly appreciate this gift from Noble Energy and we pledge to put every dime and dollar to good use."