CMC students can learn the drill
As oil and gas companies strive to hire and retain employees in the ever-growing industry in Garfield County, Colorado Mountain College has stepped up to offer training for workers.In partnership with the Colorado Work Force Centers, CMC is “trying to enhance local labor pool skill levels,” said Carolyn Tucker, CMC Work Force training coordinator.CMC began to focus on providing specific training for the oil and gas industry about three years ago. “The industry was just emerging then, and now it’s mushrooming,” she said.Thanks to the efforts of another community college, San Juan College in Farmington, N.M., located in a longtime oil and gas development area, CMC got on course with the special training oil and gas workers require.”They helped us identify the key training needs and helped with fast-tracking our energy programs,” Tucker said.While CMC is also developing a degree program for energy workers, what Tucker has designed are classes that offer immediate and short-term training for either prospective or on-the-job workers.Most of those classes revolve around some aspect of safety as well as certifications required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.CMC has also partnered with oil and gas companies, namely Halliburton and EnCana, to offer specialized classes. Halliburton contracted with CMC to offer OSHA training for its newly hired employees, said Halliburton spokesman Steve Patterson.In its new-hire orientation class, trainees learn about oil and gas terminology, how to be aware of potential hazards on the job, First Aid and CPR. The class also certifies them for personal emergency gear and respirators.”Halliburton has really committed (to the training program),” Tucker said. “We’re really thankful for that.”Said Patterson, “We have one of the most extensive (safety training programs) out there for a services company. CMC is doing a real good job.”Halliburton provides fracturing and other completion services for oil and gas development companies and employs about 600 people in Garfield County, Patterson said.Recently, EnCana helped CMC develop the EnCosha classes, which offer OSHA safety training.”EnCana wanted something specific to oil and gas so they created their own program,” Tucker said. The two-day training covers First Aid, including the use of a portable defibrillator.”Because (work crews) are so remote and it would take first responders so long” to get to an accident scene, EnCana has provided portable defibrillators to its crews, Tucker said. “That’s very proactive of them.”EnCana “is on a very big push for safety with its contractors,” and requires all its contractors’ employees to take the EnCosha course, Tucker said.Between 15 and 30 people take one of the two classes every week, both of which are offered twice a month.Also part of the EnCosha training is a section called IMPACT – Integrity Makes People Across Communities Trust – developed by EnCana’s community landowner relations coordinator Sher Long for oil and gas workers coming in contact with the public. “What we’re trying do is help our contractors understand when they are out in the field to be conscientious about the impact they’re having on neighbors,” Long said, such as speeding or raising dust or throwing trash.EnCana also made a commitment to require IMPACT training for all its contractors. “The IMPACT program is part of our effort to support our contractors to be socially and environmentally responsible,” she said.CMC has provided training classes either at its instruction centers in Rifle and Parachute or on the job site for such oil and gas development and associated companies as Williams, Rain For Rent, Rocky Mountain Field Service and Weatherford.Darren Flood, branch manager of Rain For Rent in Rifle, a company with 40 local employees that provides rental equipment to the oil and gas industry for handling fluids, took both CPR and First Aid training in a CMC class. “I appreciate CMC’s effort in trying to help employers train their employees in safety awareness,” Flood said. “There is a labor shortage in western Colorado, and it has a tremendous impact on the quality of employees we’re forced to hire.” Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon closed around 9 p.m. Thursday for a flash flood warning.