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Students learn the trade at Utica Shale Academy

Updated: Friday, August 8 2014, 05:41 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio -- With the oil and gas boom in the Ohio Valley, a new school in the area will teach students the tools they need to get better prepared before entering the workforce.
It’s something that began as a simple idea 9 months ago, and has flourished into a full blown academy -- the Utica Shale Academy. Students are schooled on the growing industry, and founders hope it will keep young graduates in the area.
Open to any student in grades 9-12 in the state of Ohio, the academy serves as a vocational school role to pump kids into the industry. It's sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, and it's located in Southern Local High school in Salineville.
Students will graduate with a high school diploma and three different certifications that will help kids get a job in the gas and oil industry. Once completed, they'll be able to step directly on the well pad and begin working.
"Hopefully as we grow and grow from year to year, we can offer even more certifications so when the kids come out, they will have multiple certifications and have a leg up on any competition they're going to have in a job interview and get right into the workforce,” Director Eric Sampson said.
Sampson said they are a blended learning format. Students will take traditional courses like Math and English, but also participate in industry-specific classes.
"The curriculum we have is state-of-the-art, animations, cut-aways of various rigs and all the equipment used in the gas and oil industry,” Sampson said. “So ideally, they will come into school and work on that gas and oil industry stuff."
In conjunction with that, students will be working with experiments, and get hands-on experience to get the idea of how it actually works.
"This is an exceptional program, it really is,” Sampson said. “And once the word gets out and people start to see how it's going to come together, it's really going to take off. "
On Thursday, the academy is hosting an Open House from 5-7 p.m.

Students learn the trade at Utica Shale Academy


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