STEUBENVILLE, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today visited a shale gas training center in Steubenville to outline his plan to train out-of-work Ohioans for jobs in emerging, high-tech industries like shale development. Brown discussed his Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, which would help unemployed workers train for high-tech jobs in their region, in a visit to Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC). EGCC offers several training programs for jobs in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, including a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)-funded initiative called ShaleNet that works to ensure that local residents are qualified and can be hired for new jobs in the oil and gas industry. EGCC also has a program, Retrain America, that offers similar training for Ohioans looking for work in the shale industry.
“Shale development has tremendous potential to bring new economic development and new jobs to our state. Not only do we have to protect our public safety and health, but we must make sure that these new jobs are going to Ohioans—not out-of-staters,” Brown said. “That’s exactly what the Retrain America and ShaleNet programs at Eastern Gateway Community College are designed to do—train locals for shale exploration positions. The SECTORS Act takes a similar approach by aligning worker training programs to the needs of industries that are creating jobs. It helps local communities, and educational institutions like EGCC, tailor workforce training to meet industry needs. Here in Jefferson County, the SECTORS Act would help the community make sure more workers are prepared for opportunities in shale development.”
Brown was joined by Tracee Joltes, assistant director of workforce outreach at EGCC, to discuss how the school’s shale training programs are helping ensure local residents fill jobs in the shale industry, and to outline how the SECTORS Act would help ensure that more Ohioans can get jobs in similar, high-growth industries. Kim Cline, the project manager at Progress Alliance, the economic development partnership between Jefferson County, the City of Steubenville, and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, also joined Brown.
Despite Ohio’s 7.5 percent unemployment rate, many employers in emerging industries—including solar energy, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare—struggle to find workers to fill job vacancies. The SECTORS Act tailors workforce development to the needs of regional industry, allowing more workers to receive placements and attracting more businesses to a given region. The bill would organize stakeholders connected to a regional industry—businesses, unions, education and training providers, and local workforce and education system administrators—to develop plans for growing that industry. Brown’s SECTORS Act would help ensure that new jobs in Ohio’s expanding natural gas industry are filled by Ohioans.
Brown’s bill would organize stakeholders connected to a regional industry—multiple firms, unions, education and training providers, and local workforce and education system administrators—to develop plans for growing that industry. Eligible entities would be able to apply for a one-year planning grant of up to $250,000 and a three-year implementation grant of up to $2.5 million.