The emergence of the gas drilling industry in Northeast Pennsylvania has brought a huge magnitude of economic and workforce opportunities to the area, according to those testifying at a public hearing held today at Penn College by the Senate Majority Policy Committee.
Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) hosted the hearing on the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on employment opportunities. Other legislators present at the hearing were Senators Committee Chairman Ted Erikson (R-Delaware), John Gordner (R-Columbia), John Pippy (R-Allegheny) and Representatives Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) and Matt Baker (R-Tioga). It included panel discussions from individuals representing local businesses and organizations, industry representatives and workforce development agencies.
“One thing is very clear – this emerging industry has the potential to transform this region and greatly enhance economic and job creation opportunities throughout Pennsylvania,” Yaw said. “One of the challenges we face is providing a consistent flow of skilled workers to serve the needs of the industry. And this is something that government, educational institutions, the industry and local organizations need to work together to accomplish.”
Yaw said that in the past three years, approximately 65 to 85 new companies have located in Lycoming County as a direct result of the Marcellus Shale Play. It is estimated that somewhere between 3500 and 4000 jobs have been created and many of those jobs are being filled by Pennsylvanians. In addition, unemployment rates in the area have fallen at a time when other areas are seeing unemployment grow.
Yaw added that the Pennsylvania Economy League recently estimated that each direct job in the Pennsylvania oil and gas industry creates an additional 1.52 indirect and induced jobs throughout the economy. The effect is what’s being called the “Marcellus Multiplier,” where every dollar invested by gas production companies is creating nearly double the economic output.
“Jobs are here and more are coming and so it is vital for state and local government to embrace the opportunity, work cooperatively with drillers and then watch our unemployment rate drop even more,” Yaw said. “We heard today that this is happening right now, thanks to a high level of cooperation and commitment to this area and its people. We’ve gotten off to a strong start thanks to strong coordination and the help of organizations like Penn College and our work force development groups.”
Representatives from the gas industry told the Senate panel that they have been well received by the local community and are very pleased with the assistance they have received from local governments and the various Chambers of Commerce. While there has been an influx of workers, local hires are being made, and local workforce training specific to natural gas has prepared people for jobs.
“This hearing was a great opportunity to hear more about how the gas industry is impacting this area positively and look at how we can harness that potential,” Yaw said. “This will not just help in this area but throughout the state as drilling begins in other areas.”
Contact: Adam Pankake