Counties get help in shale training

YOUNGSTOWN – Mahoning and Columbiana counties are Ohio’s biggest beneficiaries of a federally funded on-the-job training program focused on the shale natural gas industry.

Nearly 50 workers at nine companies participated in the ShaleNet on-the-job training program through the Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association (MCTA) and One-Stop Workforce System of Mahoning and Columbiana Counties, according to information released by the association. The average wage of participating workers in Mahoning and Columbiana counties was $16.60 an hour, and the average benefit to the employer was $3,149 per covered employee.

Mahoning and Columbiana counties utilized all of the $150,000 in on-the-job training funding available to Ohio’s six designated shale counties.

“WIA (Workforce Investment Act) Area 17’s full dedication to the ShaleNet initiative validates our commitment to meeting the employment needs of both employers and job seekers,” said Bert R. Cene, director of MCTA. “We will always seek to utilize alternative funding to leverage regular WIA allocations.”

“Shale-related jobs have the potential to reinvigorate Ohio’s economy, and graduates of these training programs are well positioned to secure good-paying jobs in a rapidly growing industry,” said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Michael Colbert.

For an employer, on-the-job training defrays the cost of wages for a newly hired employee during that worker’s initial training period. The trainee benefits by gaining a needed skill for a training period of up to 13 weeks.