Finding Future Oil and Gas Workers

Milby High School has been selected for a new Academy for Petroleum Exploration and Production Technolgy. The oil and gas industry is in need of new employees as the workforce ages. And as Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports the Academy is hoping to train new employees to handle growing demand and changing technology.

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As demand for energy increases here and around the world, the workforce in the oil and gas industry is aging. Houston Community College Energy Institute Chair Doctor John Galiotos:

"Within the next five years we're going to have a major exodus of personnel from the energy industries because of retirement. And the high schools, community colleges and universities are working closely together to support the needs that are going to be required to fill these new positions with new technologies and incorporated industries."

To try to address both demands - workers and oil -- the Independent Petroleum Association of America is reaching out to Milby High School students through a new Academy. IPAA President Barry Russell:

"I think in the high schools it's giving them basic skills in the maths and sciences and at the same leadership skills and then we hope through internships and guest speakers and so forth to make them aware of some of the opportunities in the petroleum industry."

The oil and gas industry has the challenge of balancing the environment and demand.

"And at the same time it's harder and harder to find that energy, so if you look at both the world level and also for the United States over the next 30 years they are talking about an increase in energy level of any where from 30 to 40 to 50 percent of the amount of energy that we use today."

The Academy at Milby High School will open next year. Mayor Bill White says Houston is a center for the world wide energy industry because of the people who provide the expertise.

"The pursuit of the responsible and sustainable production and processing of hydrocarbons will remain a critical feature of maintaining the standard of living of Americans and for people who want a better standard of living all over the world."

White says the job demand will be met.

"There will be people who take these jobs and the only big issue is whether those are going to be Americans or not."

Milby High School was selected in part because of the existing Magnet Science Institute. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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