Free Welding Training Available for Veterans, Dislocated Workers, and Low-Income Adults

     An informational session about our new Welder Training with an Oil and Gas Emphasis program will be held at PA CareerLink® Beaver County located in the Beaver Valley Mall, Monaca, PA on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:30 p.m. Qualified veterans, dislocated workers, and low-income adults can apply to receive this training at no cost.


     As demand for welders in the oil and gas industry increases, dislocated workers and low income adults now have the opportunity to receive training for high-demand careers in the field. A new Welder Training program is offered at Community College of Beaver County from a partnership with Southwest Corner Workforce Investment Board that oversees Washington, Greene and Beaver Counties; and PA CareerLink® Beaver County.   The partnership also involves Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker funding support as administered locally by Job Training for Beaver County, Inc. (JTBC).

     Due to the Marcellus Shale deposit, a layer of shale rock that is known to be a reservoir of natural gas located as far as 9,000 feet below ground, that expands across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, natural gas extraction is an emerging industry with many job opportunities. In the local area, employers are discovering that there is an untrained or undertrained workforce.

     As a result of the demand for a properly trained workforce, the College and its local partners joined together to offer a well-rounded training program. Starting in May, the Welding Training with an Oil and Gas Emphasis program offered through the College, JTBC, and PA CareerLink® Beaver County brings together employability skills training, basic welding skill training, gas and oil training, and natural gas classes. The welding program combines Welder’s Helper training under the ShaleNET grant with 80 hours of additional welding training supported through WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker funds.  By training local workers, the College is hoping to decrease the need for out-of-state workers.

     According to its website, the ShaleNET grant “will develop a recruitment, training, placement, and retention program to help provide the gas industry with a ready and well-trained local workforce for occupations that are in high demand.” The grant focuses on unemployed, dislocated, underemployed, low-income, youth, and veteran employment in the natural gas industry.

     The College is recognized as a certified training provider through the ShaleNET grant, which is administered through Westmoreland County Community College in Pennsylvania. Since the College is approved to conduct training for this 3-year U.S. Department of Labor grant, five training programs developed by grant funding could be offered. These include Roustabout, Floor Hand, Production Technician, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and Welder’s Helper.

     “We chose Welder’s Helper because employers are telling us that there is a need,” stated Karen Deichert, Associate Vice President for Career and Workforce Development at CCBC. She continued, “We want to train people for careers and so, with the help of Job Training for Beaver County and WIA funding, we are able to offer an additional 80 hours of welding to eligible job seekers.”

     By partnering with Job Training for Beaver County, the College is able to supplement the Welder’s Helper training available under the ShaleNET grant with the additional 80 hours of training and provide students with the skills that employers require. Job Training for Beaver County is a private, non-profit organization that “addresses the diverse career and employment needs of adults, dislocated workers, and youth along with the important workforce development priorities of employers.”

     JTBC Executive Director Deborah Newton noted, “We are seeing an increasing employment need among local Beaver County employers that support the activity presented by the drilling and transmission of natural gas found in the Marcellus Shale deposit.  A skilled-workforce is required for these job opportunities that present family-sustaining wages.”    

     Since about half of the instructional cost is covered from the ShaleNET grant funding and the other half could be covered by Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds for eligible dislocated workers and low income adults, twelve students are able to take the training for free. The only cost for the student is a drug screening, physical, and criminal background check. The estimated cost for the student is $210. In addition to welding instruction, students receive instruction in Natural Gas 101, Safeland, Spill Prevention, Fall Protection, Aerial Work Platform, Rough Terrain Forklift, Defensive Driving, Basic First Aid, and CPR. The welding classes will be held at the Beaver County Career and Technology Center while classroom instruction, including hands-on forklift and aerial work platform training, will be held on the College’s main campus.

     “This combination of welding training along with the emphasis in oil and gas gives the students additional skills outside of welding training and is very attractive to employers,” stated Sue Dunlap, Workforce Program Coordinator at CCBC.

     An informational session about the new Welder Training with an Oil and Gas Emphasis program will be held at PA CareerLink® Beaver County located in the Beaver Valley Mall, Monaca, PA on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:30 p.m. 

     Applications for the program are available through PA CareerLink® Beaver County and will be available at the informational session. JTBC will determine WIA eligibility for all applicants and will then make referral to Community College of Beaver County for program selection.   

 For more information about the program or to register for informational session, contact Job Training for Beaver County at 724-728-2020.