O&R Partners with RCC, SUNY Orange to Offer Gas Tech Training

O&R is partnering with Rockland Community College's (RCC) Division of Continuing Education and SUNY Orange's Continuing and Professional Education staff to sponsor a gas technician training course — a program that could lead the successful student to a career in the natural gas construction industry.

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.

For example, in 2015, O&R replaced 95,000 feet of cast iron and unprotected steel natural gas main with high-tech plastic. The utility plans to replace another 110,000 feet of gas main in 2016, 115,000 feet in 2017 and 120,000 feet in 2018.

Over the years across the country, replacing that aging infrastructure has created thousands of jobs for trained gas technicians and promises to create thousands more jobs for years to come.

O&R Vice President – Operations Francis Peverly said, "That high demand for trained personnel has created a situation where, right now, there are more jobs open than there are trained techs to fill them. We decided to try to do something about that. The result is this program."

The successful candidate for this program must be 18 or older and a United States citizen or must have the ability/right to work in the U.S. (Students will be required to provide proof of ability to work in the U.S. prior to program participation.) Students also must have a high school diploma or GED/HSE (High School Equivalency).

Students must pass a reading and a math screening test, as well as a mechanical aptitude test. Students also must commit to attend a two-week, full-time (8:30 am – 3:30 pm) training program from April 18 – April 29. The program will take place at O&R's Goshen training facility. Enrollment is limited and scholarships are available for qualified participants.

To successfully complete this course, 100 percent attendance is required.

Please note: This training prepares students for skilled construction jobs that may still require heavy manual labor, including digging. That work takes place outdoors in all weather and under other challenging conditions.

The training program will cover 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 & teamwork skills, resume writing, and career readiness.
* Students are required to take Operator Qualification, NGA (Northeast Gas Association) exams.
* A Job Fair for graduates will take place at RCC after the completion of the program. The Job Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4.
To receive more information and register for the program, please contact Stephanie Brady at the RCC Continuing Education Division at (845) 574-4730.

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