Groups offer workforce training

Published 12:01 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

NATCHEZ — Wannabe roughnecks looking for a leg on an oil rig can boost their resumes by attending a three-night training session later this month.

Energy Drilling Co. Financial Controller David Cothren said attending the free course geared toward those with little or no experience will give job candidates an advantage over other inexperienced competitors.

The course, which is the result of Energy Drilling’s collaboration with Natchez Inc. and Copiah-Lincoln Community College, is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 22 to Aug. 25 at the Mississippi Employment Security Commission WIN Job Center in Natchez.

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Cothren said roughneck positions tend to have high turnover, and earning a certificate after completing the training will give applicants a better chance of filling those spots.

“We keep a list of potential trainees, and people who go to this class will be at the top of the list,” Cothren said.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the idea for the energy training came to fruition as the result of meetings he has had with Energy Drilling and other local existing industries to find out what the community can offer to better suit their needs.

Russ said oil and gas businessmen industry officials responded that they wanted a better-trained workforce.

Cothren said the course’s first two days will focus on general skills, such as communication and team building. Co-Lin representatives will teach those modules.

Retired training specialist, Randy Smith, will teach the last day, which will focus specifically on the demands of working in the oil business. The module Smith will teach will expose attendees to films and graphics about the industry and introduce roughneck jargon, Cothren said.

Attendees will be better prepared as candidates for on-site training once hired, Cothren said.

“They can learn the lingo of a tong or a block or a pipe spinner, (whereas most trainees) don’t know what (trainers) are talking about,” Cothren said.

The oil industry never has a shortage of people looking for jobs, Cothren said, but the challenge comes in when finding experienced candidates.

“(The training) allows the trainees to have a little knowledge before they go out there, and it helps to show us the people who are willing to take the time and effort to go to class and try to learn,” he said.

In any given month Energy Drilling could be looking to hire as little as two and as many as 10 people a month, Cothren.

Earning the certificate will show Energy Drilling, as well as other companies in the industry, that a candidate really wants a job and is willing to put forth some effort to get it.

In addition, the training will expose attendees to the demands of the jobs, allowing them to be certain they want to enter the field.

Applicant requirements include:

• Must be able to perform physically demanding oil field work.

• Must pass a physical exam and a drug test.

• Must work seven days on and seven days off, as well as weekends and holidays.

• Must work rotating daily and nightly shifts.

• Must work in existing weather conditions.

• Must move or be around heavy equipment.

• Must wear protective personal equipment.

• Must work at heights if required.

Interested applicants should call Energy Drilling at 601-446-5259 as soon as possible to apply for the training session.

The WIN Job Center is located at 107 Col. John Pitchford Parkway.