Academy focuses on shale jobs

Ohio oil and gas well rig

SALINEVILLE, Ohio — Rich Wright has been named director of the Utica Shale Academy.

Wright replaces Eric Sampson, who was director of the community school since its inception in 2014.

The school has locations at Southern Local and Columbiana high schools in Columbiana County. It offers welding in conjunction with the New Castle School of Trades and courses involved with the gas and oil industry, and Wright has been working with the USA board of directors and sponsor Jefferson County Educational Service Center to expand the program.

“We’d like to expand by increasing our student options and one of those areas includes a stronger connection with NCST,” he said.

They’re also looking at a technology-based partnership with Youngstown State University.”

Current student enrollment is 45 participants between the main location at Southern Local and the Columbiana branch.

About 50 students have graduated from USA since it began, with the largest class in 2018 at 22 people.

Grades 9-12

USA provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education and includes a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation, along with flexible scheduling. It also offers certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications.

Registration is open and the academy is offered to students in grades 9-12. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.

For more information about USA’s programs, contact Wright at 330-420-5353 or visit the website at


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



Receive emails as this discussion progresses.