Oklahoma Abounds with Job Opportunities in Energy Industry

Article excerpt

Help wanted notices have been posted across the state for jobs offering premium salaries in the energy industry.

If people are willing to work, there are energy industry jobs and long-term opportunities available in Oklahoma, said Jeramy Rich, president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

About 4,000 energy industry jobs were created in Oklahoma during 2005, said Mike Terry, executive director of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.

More jobs are expected to be created this year, expanding demand for willing workers.

We need more people, Terry said. I have seen estimates that 10,000 more workers will be needed.

Free training and salaries well above the median average in Oklahoma are being used to attract a new generation of employees to the industry.

We are trying to make young people aware of our industry, said Susan Webb, special projects coordinator for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

The average annual salary for an industry job in Oklahoma is $69,500, about $40,000 more than the average state salary, Webb said.

The OERB and the OIPA created the Oilfield Workers Initiative in 2005 to recruit and train new energy industry employees. A Web site - www.oilfieldjobsok.com - is part of the initiative.

The Web site has received more than 47,000 visits since it was activated Oct. 18, she said.

Jobs are posted on the Web site by 31 companies.

There are probably about 700 job openings posted at any one time, Webb said.

Companies are reporting inquiries within 24 hours after a job is posted.

When I update the job postings on the oilfieldjobsok.com Web site, the next day I receive many applications, said Casey Vinson with Halliburton Mid-Continent. When filling hundreds of jobs this year, this will be an important tool.

The industry needs younger workers. The median age for workers in Oklahoma's energy industry is 50 to 54 years old, Webb said.

Our target has been 18- to 34-year-old men, she said. We are trying to make young people aware of the industry.

Training is available for jobs at all levels.

There are a lot of opportunities for people without training, Rich said. This industry has been here since statehood and has a lot of jobs available and a lot of long-term opportunities.

Training is available in Woodward at High Plains Technology's Oil and Gas Training Center. The Oil and Gas Training Center was awarded a $2.4 million grant in November from the U.S. Department of Labor.

More than 2,500 workers have received training for jobs in the oil and gas industry since the program started in August 2003 through the program, according to Ron Walsmith, director of oil and gas training at High Plains Technology Center. …

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