Bridging Appalachia's Skills Gap

Bridging Appalachia's Skills Gap
Chevron-led initiative supports science, technology, engineering and math education to boost the Marcellus and Utica workforce. PHOTO: JDuffy Photography.

Bridges are a common sight in Pittsburgh, a city with three rivers and many more ravines, streams, rail lines and roads to cross. In fact, by one count the city is home to some 446 bridges – a figure well eclipsing that of the group of islands also known as Venice, Italy.

Business and civic leaders in Pittsburgh have set out to span another type of obstacle that has become apparent with the rapid development of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays within the past decade: the skills gap that separates job seekers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia with well-paying careers in the oil and gas industry.

Chevron Corp. announced in October that it was contributing $20 million to a new education and workforce development program in 27 counties throughout southwest Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia: the Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API). API represents a long-term commitment to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and will help to develop a better-prepared workforce for the tri-state region's energy and manufacturing industries, according to Chevron.

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Rigzone recently spoke to representatives of API's founding partners: Chevron, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD), the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and RAND Corp. Read on for their perspectives on the initiative.


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