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Many students may be nervous about being able to find a job that can support them upon graduation, but the crowd of students at Stark State College’s downtown Canton satellite branch are already getting propositions from future employers in the gas and oil industry.
The downtown Canton satellite branch hosted its inaugural Oil and Gas Bash on Dec. 6, welcoming industry companies hiring in Ohio and students who are or soon will be looking for a job in the field.
Future pipeline technicians and processing operators walked around the satellite building, meeting with businesses that are hiring for their jobs today or in the near future, including companies like Marathon, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Dominion and others.
“This is the perfect opportunity to connect employers with students, it’s a winning combination,” said Para M. Jones, president of Stark State College.
The event is the first time employers and students or prospective students have met in a single evening event held by the college. The college just started offering an accelerated degree program that takes only 18 months to complete that has attracted students from all over the state.
A $500,000 grant from Gov. John Kasich’s Education Innovation program made the major possible. The grant provides ShaleNET education and training to students at Stark State’s sister schools, Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville and Hocking College in Nelsonville. As part of the 18-month program, in the summer those students can stay at Malone University for 10 weeks and use Stark State’s $3.7 million Well Site Training Lab to complete their hands-on training.
Chevron also partnered with the college to help provide the rest of the scholarship money students may need to complete the 18-month program. Other scholarships are offered for students not in the 18-month accelerated program.
The college will offer six majors related to the gas and oil industry.
The program is designed for both traditional and non-traditional students, and graduates will have the skills for midstream and downstream jobs upon graduation.
Two Stark County graduates from Marlington High School’s Class of 2016, Marta Bixler and Curtis Goebeler, attended a career tech program at their high school geared toward the gas and oil trade. They are now students at Stark State and as first-year students said they aren’t worried about their job prospects when they graduate.
Walt Summerkill, of Navarre, is 27 and in his final year of the oil and gas program. He talked to some future employers at the Oil and Gas Bash and said he heard about the program from a friend who got a job right after he graduated.
“My best friend got hired at Dominion right out of this program. Word is the industry is really picking up,” he said, adding he is not worried about finding a high-paying job in a few months.
For more on Stark State’s oil and gas program and scholarships, go to www.starkstate.edu/oilandgas.