Rep. Reis Learns About Oil and Gas Training and Expansion Opportunities at SIC
Illinois State Representative of the 109th District, David Reis, met with Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) administrators recently to discuss oil and gas training initiatives in Southern Illinois, as well as to learn about Southeastern’s hopes for expanding career and technical education services in the Carmi area.
SIC has partnered with Rend Lake College (RLC) to provide SAFELAND™ training and core curriculum for the oil and gas contractor workforce, upon the recent legislation regulating that industry in the state.
According to Jeff Collins, SIC SAFELAND™ instructor, the safety training is an orientation to educate beginners in the field on the hazards that may exist on the job site. The course, created by the accredited Professional Education Center (PEC), is designed to give students information on safety issues, ranging from rigging, fall protection, hazmat, emergency response, welding safety, fire protection, and many more.
Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC president, explained how the training provides “stackable credentials,” making those with multiple certifications more valuable. Stackable credentials allow a person to take various courses over time to build up their qualifications in order to move up a career ladder to different or potentially higher paying jobs.
SIC diesel instructor, Robbie Lindhorst went on to explain, “When you have the diesel technology training and can also work the rig, plus you have the safety training background, you make yourself more valuable, and therefore more employable.”
As the group discussed how the oil and gas industry increases will affect local economy, Lori Cox, associate dean of workforce and community education discussed some of her findings in discussions with other educators in developed towns.
“Supporting businesses besides diesel technicians, truck drivers and welders have roles to play as oil and gas rigs rise up, also, such as restaurants offering home cooking to the out-of-town employees or pressure washing businesses to clean the diesels–that is, for as long as the oil or gas supply is available,” said Cox.
When asked what else he might foresee as a need, Rep. Reis added that there may also be a need for civil engineers to build lakes or ponds for water sources, as well as those who can work the heavy equipment, such as backhoes and trackhoes. Geologists may also find more career opportunities in the area as the industry grows.
“I have great pride in our community colleges, having attended one myself (Lake Land College),” said Rep. Reis. “Community colleges have a unique way of turning on a dime to tailor curriculum to the changing society around them. We are so lucky to have them in Illinois.”
The group also discussed the hopes that the David L. Stanley Carmi-White County Center could gain funding in the near future to build a larger facility that could house a second locations for some technical programs currently offered on the Harrisburg campus. The Carmi expansion project could allow for more training opportunities closer to home for White County and the surrounding area, not just for the growing oil and gas industry, but also for coal mining technology and technical occupations that play supporting roles, such as diesel technicians, equipment operators and welders.
With Illinois setting up some of the toughest regulations in the nation for the oil and natural gas industry, SIC and RLC are on track by beginning to offer safety training that is already accepted by some of the leading oil and gas operators.
The colleges are currently offering SAFELAND™ training in multiple locations throughout Southern Illinois. Certificate training for technicians in the oil and natural gas industry will begin in January at SIC. For more information, call 618-252-5400, ext. 2301. To register for SAFELAND™ training, call 618-252-5001, ext. 5, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.