The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently awarded $1,498,860 in Skills Development job training grants to eight community colleges across the state, including Texas State Technical College West Texas. These grants will help support the colleges’ ability to address the training needs of oil and gas exploration employers in the Cline and Permian Shales.
“Establishing a pipeline of workers for oil and gas industry employers in these Shales will enable this region to continue to prosper,” said state Rep. Tryon Lewis. “We are pleased that these colleges will be able to use the state’s investment to enhance their training opportunities to meet the demand for workers with needed skills.”
Texas State Technical College West Texas used some of these new funds to create a mock oilfield for their new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program. Some of the new equipment purchased with these grant monies include a tank battery and a catwalk, along with other hands-on training equipment. The first TSTC West Texas CDL class graduated on Friday, Nov. 1. Three of the four students finished the grueling, six-week course and are now looking forward to finding their piece of the Cline Shale boom. The graduates – Tommy Jackson, Tim Price and Scott Calcote - have already been working with local employers, who are ready to snatch them up now that they are certified. “Don’t think you are on your own when you walk out that door,” said TSTC West Texas President Gail Lawrence, during the graduation ceremony. “We’re here to put you in a job and help you have a successful career.”
The graduates praised CDL instructor Jeff Fox. Fox, previously at Key Energy, commended the graduates for their dedication. “My classroom is out there in the field," said Fox. “If you can get through my training, you’re good to go.” The graduates agreed.
The other seven colleges that received funds from the TWC are Western Texas College, Midland College, Odessa College, Howard College-Big Spring, Howard College-San Angelo, Cisco Junior College and Ranger College. The grant monies will help address the industry need for skilled workers in the regions where rapid growth of oil and gas production has brought about a shortage of skilled labor. The grants will be used to develop customized curriculum and purchase equipment and simulation software used to train individuals seeking employment in oil and gas exploration and productivity.
“These grants provide a unique opportunity for these colleges to deliver the workforce training required for this vital industry,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “TWC’s ongoing partnerships with local community colleges address the emerging needs of Texas employers and workers across industries.”
The TWC contributed to this news release.