Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

With Oil and Gas Downturn, Community College Land Management Program on Hiatus

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

With Oil and Gas Downturn, Community College Land Management Program on Hiatus

Article excerpt

The Community College of Allegheny County developed its land administration certificate program by popular demand, with input from many regional oil and gas firms, and welcomed its first students in 2012.

But by early last year, the program's advisory board had become concerned about the lack of job opportunities for landmen in the oil and gas field, said Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, president of CCAC North Campus. Graduates were competing with newly certified professionals from other schools for a quickly narrowing pot of opportunities.

"It was difficult and we didn't want to do that to our students," she said. "It was time to wait."

So the school has put the program on hiatus. The last cohort of 21 students finished in spring 2015.

Ron Logreco, assistant dean at CCAC's West Hills Center, stressed that the program is "on pause."

It'll come back, he said, when shale gas firms start drilling again in a major way. Once that happens, they'll need people trained in reading leases, poring over title records, and dealing with landowners.

The recently announced Shell petrochemical complex in Beaver County should help things along, he said, by providing a long-term incentive to keep drilling and producing ethane. "The cracker plant is going to smooth that out."

Mr. Logreco and Ms. …

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