High school oil and gas training program to begin in fall

05 06, 2014 by Houma Courier

Terrebonne Career and Technical High School students interested in learning the basics of oil and gas production will have the opportunity to do so next fall through a new integrated production lab.

Students taking the course will learn oil and gas production basics as well as safety components critical to today’s workforce.

“The lab will have things like pneumatic valves and it will teach students to separate the water from the oil, checking gauges to prevent hazards from happening offshore, things like that,” said school Principal William Simmons.

The lab is being paid for through the Department of Education’s Jump Start grant, which awarded $74,000 among four districts in Assumption, Lafourche, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes. Terrebonne received $20,000 that will likely pay for the entire lab, said Secondary Education Supervisor Graham Douglas.

“The lab will be ready in August and we are in the process of selecting a teacher. We’re estimating it will serve approximately 80 to 100 students per year,” Douglas said.

The course will also help the district transition into the state-required Jump Start initiative, which is an elective path for students pursuing a university-preparatory diploma and a required path for students pursuing a career diploma.

“This is getting students ready for high-wage, high-paying jobs. Two diplomas will be issued to graduating seniors, one for college students and the other will be a career-based diploma,” Graham said.

Students will choose at the beginning of their junior year whether they will attend college or enter the workforce. Students choosing a career path are still required to pass the same number of exams as those going the college route.

“They won’t have to make the choice until after sophomore year. So in ninth and 10th grades, students will take a majority of the same classes still. They can also change their mind as long as they give a year’s notice and can also crisscross by integrating college and career courses,” Graham said.

Graham said the course fits into the state’s needs.

“The need for this is because we see a focus and are expecting an increase of 80,000 jobs in the state of Louisiana. We think the best way to fulfill these jobs is to train the workforce of the students here in Louisiana.”