Daniel Limbeck said he's hoping his visit to Packard Music Hall in Warren on Wednesday gives him the "much-needed" edge to start over.
The Youngstown man, a native of Warren, was among about 200 area residents who attended the first of two sessions designed to provide information about job opportunities in the shale natural gas industry, and the training required to land those jobs.
"I need work," the 51-year-old said. "I've lost jobs, my home, everything, and I'm trying to see what's out there, what I can do. That's why I'm here."
Job training held Wednesday at Packard Music Hall in Warren
Eastern Gateway Community College conducted the information sessions in partnership with the City of Warren.
Tracee Joltes, the college's assistant director of work force outreach, explained the various jobs to attendees and advised them of how rigorous those positions can be. She stressed the importance of knowing as much about the industry as possible.
"These are good jobs, the pay is good, but the work is very hard," she said.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Virginia Shank
Adonus Nickerson, 41, of Warren, fills out paperwork at the first of two information sessions about shale natural gas industry jobs and training held Wednesday at Packard Music
The sessions provided details on the training class requirements, courses and the jobs that are highest in demand.
Trina Benson, representing the Warren YWCA, said she found a lot of the information valuable. Benson oversees a program to help teenage girls and young women make the transition from high school to the work force.
"A lot of girls are coming out of situations where they just need some help, they need to know what opportunities are available," she said. "Some of them are finishing high school, recent or graduates, or getting their GEDs. This information can be very valuable to them."
Eastern Gateway is offering selected training courses tuition-free to eligible participants through the college's partnership with ShaleNET - a federal grant to train workers for targeted jobs in the shale gas industry. The college is offering pre-employment training sessions as well as training courses to prepare individuals to work in these jobs.
Although the training programs are open to all Trumbull County residents, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin recently announced that city residents can qualify for reimbursements for the required criminal background checks and drug screenings provided that pass the screenings and are enrolled in the courses.
Angela Rounak of Austintown attended the event with her 18-year-old son, Patrick. She said some of the positions in shale fall right in line with the type of job her son, who is graduating from high school this year, wants to pursue.
"It's a lot to think about," she said. "He knows he doesn't want to go to college, at least not right now.''
Joltes said the jobs in highest demand include general laborer (roughnecks and roustabouts), heavy equipment operators and commercial truck drivers, among others.
Adonus Nickerson, 41, Warren, who has his commercial driver's license, said he was interested finding out about truck-driving opportunities.
"I've heard there's a need there and that's what I'm looking at," he said. "It doesn't hurt to look at all of your options."
Some courses will be offered at Eastern Gateway's Warren Center June 11 through 29, all day, every weekday and possibly on Saturday, Joltes said. She said the college is committed to helping students find jobs.
"We have an 86 percent placement rate in the program and an 85 percent retention rate," she said.
Joltes said part of the college's partnership with ShaleNET calls for it to coordinate gas training efforts with the career centers in the Mahoning Valley.
The ShaleNET grant was launched in 2011 with a $4.96 million community-based job training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to train workers. Several community colleges from Pennsylvania and West Virginia also are participating in the training effort; however, Eastern Gateway is the only college in Ohio to do so.
For more information on the program, contact Eastern Gateway at 740-264-5591 or visit www.egcc.edu.