Ariel is encouraging eighth grade students in its quest to develop compressor technicians, President and CEO Karen Wright said last week.
Wright was among oil and gas executives speaking at an American Petroleum Institute event in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 8.
“We’re a manufacturer, so we have a very highly skilled work force,” Wright said. “We need hundreds and hundreds of people with skills.”
The Mount Vernon, Ohio-based company decided to help local schools create vocational education pathways rather than wait for those to grow.
“Over the last five years, we have developed three different two-year degree programs for community colleges in mechanics, machining and multi-craft maintenance,” she said. “We have great relationships now with five different high school vocational programs.
“We developed a (high school) curriculum that feeds into the community college programs,” Wright said. “We go clear down into the middle schools, getting kids excited about being in this program.”
Two years ago the local vocational education school had eight students in its machinists program, Wright said. Now there is a waiting list.
Ariel trains its own recruits in a specialized 1000-hour course.
“They are full employees at the time they start the program and when they finish they have a full time job already in place,” Wright said.