SAN ANTONIO – The Eagle Ford Shale is a job- creation machine, and the word has reached job hopefuls far from the South Texas oil play.
At a job fair Thursday hosted mostly by energy companies, Rich Puliselich, a truck driver from Southern California, was hoping to land an entry-level job with a drilling company.
Puliselich has been in San Antonio for a week with his wife and 5-year-old son.
“We like it here,” he said. “I’m going to relocate and make a big move.”
The job fair lured about 800 job seekers, including military veterans, recent college graduates and some currently employed folks who, like Puliselich, want to get in on the ground floor of what could be a booming field for years to come.
U.S. Army veteran Michael Olivas, who holds a commercial trucker’s license, wants something different from his local trucking job. He got a strong job bite from a company that wanted to hire him to be a trucker in Odessa. But he said he wants to hold out for a job in South Texas.
Olivas moved to San Antonio from Stockton, Calif., about 2½ years ago.
“San Antonio has a lot more to offer than California right now,” he said.
Most employers were accepting résumés and telling job seekers that they’ll be contacted for interviews. Few job offers were made on the spot, and energy companies were mum about pay.
Workforce Solutions Alamo says hourly pay for drivers of heavy tractor-trailers is $16.19 an hour, while pay for a roustabout is $16.09 an hour. For experienced workers and those who move up the ladder, big bucks can await.
Word about good pay and the promise of a long career in the industry lured many to the fair.
“This shale, the magnitude of it, is huge. They’re saying it could mean 40 years of work,” said Pete DeLeon, a safety and industrial technician in Pasadena who said he got a “positive response” from two major employers.
His enthusiasm over the 400-mile-long Eagle Ford Shale is echoed by energy analysts, who say the Eagle Ford is a contender for becoming the best shale play in the nation.
The lines were long to speak to recruiters for all the energy companies present. At San Antonio-based Lewis Energy Group, recruiter Edna Martinez said most of the applicants never have worked in the industry before.
“I’m letting them know that you’re out in the cold, out in the heat,” she said.
Lewis Energy is interested in hiring military veterans, who were ushered into the job fair one hour before everybody else.
Michael Garcia, director of human resources for Lewis Energy, said military veterans are a good fit for his company because of they are adaptable and team-oriented and have a strong work ethic.
But being a veteran doesn’t guarantee employment. Lewis Energy made job offers to 19 veterans this year and had about 300 apply, Garcia said.
Thursday’s Texas Economic Development & Energy Job Fair was co-hosted by America’s Natural Gas Alliance and the Texas Veterans Leadership Program.
Mayor Julián Castro visited the job fair, saying he wanted to get a sense of the opportunities available to job seekers. The event underscores “the emphasis and the need for folks to go out and sharpen their skills,” Castro said. “It also means it’s important for the city to grow our talent pool.”
The Texas Economic Development & Energy Summit will be held Friday in San Antonio. Speakers will discuss the energy marketplace and jobs, local growth opportunities and the environment.