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Free training could lead to jobs working pipelines

| Sunday, July 22, 2018, 9:03 p.m.

We wonder sometimes about the effectiveness of job training programs, but there is one available right now that seems to stick out.

There’s monthlong training that’s taking place in Armstrong and Greene counties for jobs that can start at $40,000 to $50,000.

And the training, valued at $3,500, is free.

The jobs are in the natural gas pipeline field, involving construction, repair and maintenance. The nice thing about these jobs is that such positions are more stable than those involving drilling wells, which require the worker to move on from site to site, often moving substantial distances from job to job.

The course is called the Natural Gas Utility and Pipeline Fuels Training Program.

It’s being offered by Armstrong County, the Gas Technology Institute and the United Mine Workers of America.

Although Armstrong County is a sponsor, the program is open to residents of other counties, too.

The course in Armstrong is being held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Northpointe Technology Center in South Buffalo, just off of the Route 28 expressway.

That class starts Aug. 6.

The Greene County session starts July 30 at the United Mine Workers of America Career Center there.

All applicants need to do is pass a drug test and a background check.

There’s a job fair at the end of the course that is attended by the region’s large natural gas companies and others. In fact, the program was designed in collaboration with gas utility companies and contractors.

One would think that such free classes, for decent-paying jobs available locally, would fill up within a day or two of the announcement of their availability.

But Patrick Findle, a senior programming manager for the Gas Technology Institute who is based in Pittsburgh, said Wednesday that seats were still available.

This will be the fourth such monthlong training in Armstrong County since November, Findle said, and more are planned. The Gas Technology Institute has obtained funding to train at least 50 more students, with the hope that more funding will follow for more courses.

We hope that people with an interest in such work — especially who have been displaced from jobs — take advantage of the opportunity.

The first step is in knowing that such opportunities exist. We hope this helps.

Here’s where to sign up: Online: www.gastechnology.org/from-black-to-blue By phone: Contact Patrick Findle at 412-577-8350.

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