O&R-RCC Gas Tech Training Grads Meet Potential New Bosses

PEARL RIVER, NY Nov. 10, 2016 — Ten local men yesterday in Haverstraw began what could be the first day of a new career.

Those men, all of whom were unemployed or under-employed, graduated yesterday from a gas technician training course sponsored by O&R in partnership with Rockland Community College's (RCC) Continuing Education Division.

William Murphy, a Pearl River resident, was chosen by the class to represent it. He said, "We really had some outstanding instructors who prepared us for the tests and prepared us for the field. They knew how to make a ton of information easy and fun to learn."

As part of that graduation ceremony O&R and RCC also jointly sponsored a job fair for the graduates.

The job fair is designed to introduce natural gas pipeline construction companies to new graduates of the gas technician training course. The introduction renews the labor pool for the contractors and offers the opportunity for a job to the graduates.

O&R Gas Department's Joe Mandara, one of the course's sponsors, said, "These students all want to learn and all want to work. They have proven during this course that they are smart, highly motivated and determined. We've taught them the skills they need to succeed. The rest is up to them."

RCC’s Director of Continuing Education F. Christian Mdeway said, "The Department of Continuing Education is very excited about its existing collaboration with Orange & Rockland Utilities in this proven career path program. Our industry professional faculty is of the highest caliber, further insuring curriculum and hands-on success for our students as they prepare for the Northeast Gas Association exam certifications.

He added, "The Department of Continuing Education over the past two years has become the effective career path training resource for the adult population that is unemployed or underemployed. The Department continues to work as the go-to resource training provider in the Lower Hudson Valley for corporations and agencies seeking to hire individuals with specific skill sets or give their organizations leadership and staff additional skills training to become competitive in a global marketplace."

The goal of the partnership is to broaden the labor pool of qualified natural gas pipeline technicians for the many infrastructure rehabilitation and renewal projects under way or on the drawing board.

Each year, throughout the region, hundreds of thousands of feet of aging cast-iron and unprotected steel natural gas mains are replaced with high-tech plastic mains that are more durable and provide more reliable, safer service.

The graduates are: Timothy Brady, Vincent Chindemi, Marc Cordero, Shawn Haglund, William Murphy, Nickolas Portanova, Tyree Randolph, Philip Repka, William Ribaudo and Robert Whytock.

The companies and organizations participating in today’s job fair are: Environmental Construction, Hydrovac Excavating, Local 17, Local 60, Local 754, On the Mark, Inc.,Petmar, Posillico, Raines Contracting, Safeway Construction and ULC Robotics.

The training program covered these elements:

  • New Construction Operator Technician Classroom Training: Installation, inspection of pipes, regulation of gas meters, understanding the gas industry, location markings, and accident awareness and prevention
  • Hands-On Instruction: Leak detection, pipe inspection, gas indicator reading, diagnostic-voltage, current, resistance, skills in pipe fitting, reading pipeline drawings, inspection of pressure gauges, installing meters and regulator, and safety techniques
  • Business Skills Training: Workplace competencies including communication and  teamwork skills, resume writing, and career readiness
  • OSHA 10 General Safety Certification: This OSHA program provides training for workers on the recognition, avidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in the workplace.
  • Exams: Students are required to take Operator Qualification, NGA (Northeast Gas Association) exams.