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Houston Community College to offer drilling training center

Houston Community College (HCC) is offering solutions to tackle the shortage of skilled oil and gas workers. It is moving forward with a project to build a Global Oil and Gas Drilling Center in Houston, TX this fall. HCC has been collaborating with drilling industry partners to assess and identify workforce needs and respond to the anticipated “big crew change” when many skilled workers will retire in the next 5 to 10 years.  The industry is faced with the need to not only fill the vacant positions of retiring employees, but to also recruit and develop new crews for approximately 140 new offshore drilling rigs under construction.HCC_NE-Campus-3D-V8_R4-300x156.png

“The drilling industry is faced with the challenge to bring 24,000 new hires on board within the next few years,” says Diamond Offshore Drilling CEO and President, Larry Dickerson. “Diamond Offshore and other drilling contractors have worked with HCC education experts over the past year to create a program that produces better trained candidates for the drilling industry of the future.

The vision for the Global Oil and Gas Drilling Center is to create a realistic drilling environment for new hire induction, orientation and training. The goal is to provide drilling contractors with a premier source for retainable, promotable and safety-conscious entry-level rig crew members.

HCC is starting construction of a HCC Global Oil and Gas Drilling Training Center that includes a rig safety and skills laboratory on their Northeast Campus this fall. This skills laboratory will be known as “RIG-ONE” and will replicate the essential components of the rig work environment for new hires (Offshore Roustabouts/Onshore Roughnecks). A two-week, hands-on program will provide trainees with experience in working around cranes, forklifts and air tuggers to acquire skills in safe pipe and cargo handling. Other skill areas include material handling, tank cleaning, confined space entry, routine maintenance and hand tool skills. Basic first aid, firefighting, station bills and muster, lock-out/tag-out and other safety procedures such as Helicopter Underwater Evacuation Training and Safe Driving are integrated into this real world experience. The training curriculum is aligned with the International Association of Drilling Contractors Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) profiles.

The entire project will be more than just the usual training of new hires. Trainees will confront, daily, real-life situations requiring aptitude, knowledge and skills. 

According to Dr. Lee Hunt, President Emeritus of the International Association of Drilling Contractors and Strategic Advisor of RIG-One, elements of the program include courses accredited by IADC.

“The RIG-One Experience is a visionary collaboration of industry experts and college educators to induct new employees into the world of drilling who are retainable, promotable and safety conscious,” said Renee Byas, HCC Acting Chancellor. “We are excited about the industry being able to offer thousands of new jobs to people right here in Houston, Texas – the Energy Capital of the World.”

With the start of construction in this Fall, initial training classes are expected to begin in the Spring 2014 semester. High school seniors, returning veterans and other workforce personnel will be offered the opportunity to train, get hired and go to work in a challenging, exciting, and well paid industry. Future expansion of the Global Oil and Gas Drilling Center will include advanced training in specialty skills areas such as electronics, mechanics and hydraulics or other drilling positions such as Floorhand, Assistant Driller and Driller. A two-year drilling associate degree is also being discussed.

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