W.Va. to launch new oil, gas job training center

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Two West Virginia colleges are teaming up to open a new training center for people who want to work in the oil and gas industry, complete with indoor and outdoor laboratories to simulate drilling operations.

The Community and Technical College System of West Virginia said Thursday it’s planning a formal announcement next week about the launch of the Appalachian Petroleum Technology in the I-79 Technology Park.

Pierpont Community and Technical College and West Virginia Northern Community College will offer associate and certificate programs in Petroleum Technology, plus a variety of other customized training programs.

“The oil and gas industry spoke, and we responded,” said Martin J. Olshinsky, president of West Virginia Northern.

Both schools will house indoor drilling simulation labs, and they’ll share an outdoor lab in Fairmont.

Doreen Larson, president of Pierpont CTC, said the training center grew from a partnership and conversations with what she called “the power industries of our region.”

“However, the ‘power’ of the program lies in engaging and developing the intelligence and work ethic of the people of West Virginia,” she said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and industry leaders are expected to attend the ceremony on Wednesday, when information about how to enroll and other details will be revealed.