GREENVILLE, Pa.—ILSCO Extrusions president John Thigpen ’86 sees the potential for a coming boom.
Thigpen said in the Mercer County area there are 200 small and large manufacturing facilities with a workforce that is nearing retirement age with few Millennials and Generation X members in place to fill job vacancies as those experienced workers retire.
“There is an explosion coming,” he said during Thiel College’s launch event for its new Environmental Safety Management program at the Haer Family Science and Arts Connector.
Thigpen was joined at Thursday’s event by executives from the gas and oil industry and the geotechnical services fields along with about 50 business people, media representatives and Thiel College community members.
Chief Executive Officer of Zelienople, Pa.-based Deep Well Services Mark Marmo ’93 said he expects his company to add as many as 250 employees in the future. President of Pittsburgh-based Geo Environmental Drilling Deborah Weible ’84 said the College’s new program will fill a growing need for small companies like hers by training graduates to be prepared for careers straight out of college.
Marmo described several career opportunities with six-figure salaries in his company.
“There are opportunities. There is room for lots of growth,” he said.
Pennsylvania Representative Mark Longietti attended the event as did representatives from the offices of state Senator Michele Brooks and state Representative Parke Wentling.
As part of the event, David Shafer was introduced as the program coordinator. He has been active in the field of environmental safety for nearly 40 years as a consultant, government contractor, college educator and employer. As a certified environmental, safety and health trainer, he has led safety training sessions and programs across the United States. Shafer has an extensive background in developing training courses, especially for the Environmental Protection Agency Hazardous Materials Incident Response Operations and Personnel Protection and Safety training courses. He has provided over 1,600 days of training for more than 650 individual courses for the EPA and numerous states.
“The potential growth for this industry will mean our graduates will be ready for high-paying jobs in the region and around the country,” Shafer said.
Thiel College’s program combines elements from its distinguished Department of Business Administration and Accounting, which has been singled out as a department of distinction by Colleges of Distinction the last two years and its Department of Environmental Science. Thiel’s program is the only one in Pennsylvania that uses environmental science as its core element. The new major will open opportunities in a variety of fields and locations such as hospitals, oil and gas activities, construction projects, educational facilities and manufacturing plants. New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are all in the top five for employment opportunities for occupational health and safety specialists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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