Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Training Program

Beginning in February 2006, the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Training Program is a great example of partnering between state government, private industry and other state and local organizations. The primary partners are the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, state workforce agencies in other states and the Wyoming Contractors Association. The Department's Workforce Centers, and counterpart agencies in other states, refer workers to the Wyoming Contractors Association, which prepares them to go to work for oil and gas companies in Wyoming. Also, Wyoming workforce centers, particularly in Casper, have utilized some WIA monies, as well as partnerships with other organizations, to provide support to the trainees, most of whom have come from outside Wyoming to attend. Direct training costs are paid by a grant from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

The training has been helpful to Wyoming oil and gas companies.The benefits of this partnership are worth mentioning such as the program's ability to helped Wyoming businesses fulfill their employment needs. The training has been helpful to Wyoming oil and gas companies. This industry has experienced an acute labor shortage, especially in recent months, as Wyoming's economy has become more robust. Positions for which individuals are being trained are floor hand, heavy equipment operator and truck driver. The demand for labor in these positions has been so great that training participants are virtually assured of employment immediately upon graduation from their respective programs. During Program Year 2005, a total of 218 floor hands, 15 heavy equipment operators and 21 truck drivers completed the coursework. Thus far, all of the graduates have been placed in training-related employment.

The cost-benefit ratio of the training is good too. The cost for floor hand training is $1,400, while the heavy equipment and truck driver courses each cost $2,500. Floor hands are able to start work at an average beginning wage of $24.70 per hour, while heavy equipment operators and truck drivers start at between $14 and $18 per hour. Related to this is the efficient way in which WIA resources are being used to help the workers complete training. Inasmuch as a minimal amount of support funding is all that is needed by some participants, it is anticipated this program will help reduce Wyoming's overall WIA participant costs.

Another benefit of participating in one of these training programs is that enrolled individuals complete the training so quickly, which certainly meets industry needs. Participants can begin earning a paycheck right away, and the Department and the Wyoming Contractors Association are able to prepare a greater number of people for jobs in a short amount of time. The floor hand training only lasts one week, and the other two components are completed in two weeks, instead of the protracted time periods that are sometimes required in other such courses.

Although the training is particularly geared toward oil and gas work, individuals who complete the heavy equipment or truck driver training are also qualified to work in jobs in other segments of the mining industry, and even outside of the industry, should they desire to do so. For example, truck drivers are taught how to work in off-road environments that are typical of the oilfield. In addition, they are also prepared to apply for a Class-A Commercial Drivers License (CDL), which is needed for various other over-the-road jobs, as well as this industry. This versatility is a definite plus in today's job market.