Boards unite to view Utica Shale Academy program

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SALINEVILLE, Ohio — Board members from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, Southern Local Schools and the Utica Shale Academy got a first-hand look at the new conversion school which is preparing students for a future in the oil and gas industry.

Officials joined for the first time at Southern Local High School in Salineville, which houses the Utica Shale Academy, to view just how the program operates.

Program

Since it began in September, the academy has been instructing 42 students in grades 9-12 on concepts used in the industry.

It is a tuition-free program that allows students to learn at their own pace and have the flexibility to attend during half or full days. The program is being offered statewide and has more than 100 traditional high school courses, including advanced placement and specialized classes focusing on the energy industry.

Students work online through the Virtual Learning Academy and use materials provided through PetroEd and the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), but they also listen to lectures from guest speakers and attend field trips to view oil and gas operations up close.

Pupils also work toward credentials for health and safety, RigPass, Drilling Instructor Training (DIT), and well control.

Students must spend a majority of their time on campus, but they may attend morning or afternoon classes on alternate days. The academy also has articulations agreements with Stark State and Eastern Gateway Community Colleges to earn college credit while in high school and create an accelerated tract to earn certificates and associate’s degrees at Stark State.

Coursework is recognized by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), which has been training the industry for more than 70 years, and officials are also consulting with the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Officials noted how pleased they were with the progression of the school in such a short time, adding that there were hopes to expand with other sites around the state in the not-too-distant future.

Plans are still in their infancy, but the idea is to offer more programs at sites across the state for teens and potentially focus on some adult courses.

Information

For more information, contact the academy at 330-679-8162, go online to uticashaleschool.com or email info@uticashaleschool.com.

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