The Oil And Gas Industry Takes A Progressive Approach To Safety Training

The modern recipe for vocational training begins with partnerships between industry, education and workforce development. However, it's the right application of technology that provides the secret ingredient in delivering training to meet the individual learning styles of students across a wide range of learning, language and reading skills. In turn, qualified workers are prepared to meet the skilled labor needs of industry and the trades.

This is exactly what is happening at the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) in Pittsburgh, which began operations late in 2014 at the former home of Connelley Trade School. Founded by Robert Meeder, Ph.D., president of Pittsburgh Gateways Corp., the Energy Innovation Center acquired the 6.7 acre campus located in downtown Pittsburgh in 2011. Its mission: To contribute to socially responsible workforce development, foster energy and sustainable technologies advancement, assist in job creation through a commitment to diversity, innovation and comprehensive education across the entire spectrum of the energy industry.

An important part of its mission includes providing workforce development training for at-risk populations, including women, minorities, veterans and disenfranchised young adults, and it sources workforce development for employers. Central to the effort of "dragging instructor-led training into the 21st century," a phrase repeated by several people interviewed for this article, is the creation of a learning curriculum based on emerging technologies. United Academy, the training arm of United Rentals, and Serious Labs Inc., a simulator and game-based industrial training developer, are partnering in the creation of curriculum for the EIC. The curriculum makes use of gaming, simulation, short-form video and mobile methods that are wrapped up in adaptable and measurable content.

One of the workforce training programs developed by the EIC is called the Energy Safety Passport, which is designed to standardize basic worker safety awareness and competencies in the upstream energy industry.

"The concept for the Energy Safety Passport began with energy producers working together to standardize safety and environment training," said Rich DiClaudio, an EIC founding board member and officer.

DiClaudio also is EIC's director of corporate workforce development. The Energy Safety Passport program is designed to streamline site access approvals for workers, vendors and subcontractors.

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