More than a hundred elected officials and leaders in the natural gas industry gathered in Tunkhannock on August 5 for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas (LC PNG). The much-anticipated event at the new center coincided with a visit to the school by students participating in this year’s Oilfield Career Experience day camp program.
The idea for the school began in 2013. There was a need for a dependable, local workforce in the area and a new education center was the answer. In 2014, Cabot pledged an endowment of $2.5 million by 2020. The fund was set to help get the school up and running at its previous location in New Milford.
Lackawanna College vice president for college advancement Brian Costanzo offered welcoming remarks and served as emcee for the event, thanking retired college president Mark Volk and alumni for attending. Brian also acknowledged Cabot as the largest single contributor to the school. We also want to acknowledge and applaud the financial and materials support of Williams and SWN. They have have been there with us from the start.
New Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas president Jill Murray noted that the School of PNG is the only institution of higher learning in Wyoming County. Its location – more central to the industry as a whole – will help feed the need for home-grown talent. “We need people here today to get an education and stay here,” she told the crowd.
“We are not just a community college. We’re your community’s college,” PNG school program director Sue Gumble added.
The school had outgrown the space available to it. When administrators found ample room to grow in a former grocery store in Tunkhannock’s Tioga West Plaza, they jumped at the opportunity. According to Tunkhannock Center director Kayla Guilford, public officials immediate lent their support. “It’s a very welcoming community,” she remarked, “and a new beginning to more collaboration and more learning.”
Though the majority of the space is dedicated to the PNG program, including a large mechanical lab, Brian noted that there are also classrooms in which courses in business, accounting, criminal justice, and human services will be offered. “We’re grateful for the ability to offer additional programs to support the community,” he stated.
After a year when time seemed to stand still, the grand opening of Lackawanna College’s Tunkhannock Center is refreshing news for the region as a whole. Cabot remains committed to helping the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas put more bright men and women into family-sustaining jobs and providing the industry with the talent we will always need.