New Report Looks at Appalachian Energy Education and Workforce Needs

The Rand Corporation issues second report regarding extraction and manufacturing education and workforce assessments in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia region.
New Report Looks at Appalachian Energy Education and Workforce Needs - News

Updated: October 30, 2017

New Report Looks at Appalachian Energy Education and Workforce Needs

Penn State MCOR

In 2014, the Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API) was established by Chevron North America Exploration and Production Appalachian Mountain Business Unit’s Social Investment Team to open the doors to interest in oil and gas industries and in advanced manufacturing in the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia region. The partnership with businesses, nonprofits and educational institutions seeks to strengthen STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in primary and secondary schools in a 27-county region, and has committed $20 million to the effort. API’s goal is to provide a pool of local employees for jobs in the energy and manufacturing sectors in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.

Rand Corp, API’s independent evaluation and monitoring lead, issued its second report on wages, employment and STEM education in the region. The report looks at the traits of the region’s STEM labor market, if the graduating talent pool in the region is equipped with skills to be used in the oil and gas and advanced manufacturing labor markets, and who are possible new hires in the extraction industry. Through a series of reports, the trends of what localities may need for educating and/or employing local talents in these types of careers and to identify needs for future investments and/or collaborative work.

Key findings from the report found:

  1. Twenty of the twenty-seven counties in the API region had declines in the working age population between 2000 and 2014. However, the population size for the 27-county region was unchanged, as growth in a few counties (Monongalia County, WV, and Butler County, PA) offset declines in others. This compares to a 14.3% increase in the national work age population.
  2. Looking a traditional STEM jobs, these employees had the highest pay in the API region, but the pay levels were below the national average for these types of jobs. Employees in the extraction and construction fields in the API region exceeded the national median salaries by about $10,000.
  3. Over the past 5 years, real wagers declined both nationally and in the API region, with employees with the least education averaging a 6% wage decrease.
  4. New hires in the oil and gas extraction jobs came from local labor pools and not from oil and gas workers outside of the region.
  5. High school graduation rates in the three states in the API region rose, as did the national trend. Local higher educational institutions graduated more students with the needed STEM skills, exceeding the national average (16% versus 12%).

The full report can be found on the RAND Corporation website.