Energy and Education in Carroll County, Ohio

As opportunities for employment in the county grow, Carroll County’s educators are working to ensure their students are prepared to step into the workforce with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. Carrollton Exempted Village Schools Superintendent David Quattrochi is implementing an aggressive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program and increasing the district’s coordination with local area technical schools. The Energy Resource Dynamics program will prepare students for college in subjects like structural engineering, agriculture and industrial power, natural resources, environmental science, and so forth. It will also include an adult education component to provide additional skills training for local workers and non-traditional students.

Quattrochi recently initiated a dual enrollment program with Stark State College which allows High School students to get college credit for their High School coursework. The program also incorporates a dual-track curriculum with an energy education focus where students can elect to choose new classes like pre-engineering and geology. These enrollment programs ensure that students who want to go directly into the workforce can do so with the proper training and professional certifications.

Like many rural communities, students were faced with low job prospects and had to leave the area in search of better paying jobs. But Quattrichi says the shale boom has changed all that.

“Our goal is to give Carroll County kids the opportunity to stay in the county if they want. To be able to get good paying jobs here at home,” he said.

The school district recently sold leases on district-owned land for six gas wells to be drilled in the coming months. The leases will not only provide a funding boost, but will also be a learning opportunity. The district plans to install an observation lab overlooking the well pads that will allow students to see first-hand how oil and gas drilling works. The labs will also provide additional classroom space as the district expands.

As the energy industry in Ohio and across the nation grows, companies increasingly find themselves with a shortage of students with the technical skills necessary to step into oil and gas related jobs and careers. The industry grew at a rate of 63 percent in 2012 and at the same time, 64 percent of all companies reported concern over filling skilled job positions in the coming year. Human resources departments are working to increase compensation packages in an effort to attract more talent. This creates an opening for educators like Quattrochi.

“It’s not so much that we are trying to push our kids into the energy or the resource field, because the classes that we are offering can be beneficial for any student, especially those going to college.”

Even still, demand for the program is high among local parents and enrollment in the district is increasing.

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