One of the most successful, long-running programs hosted by the Gulf Coast Section is the Oil Patch Orientation Course, which gives a quick introduction to the oil and gas business for people with limited or no petroleum background. The course was available as early as the mid-70s, and in fact, I taught portions of it back then. It was given three times in 2004 to 140 attendees and twice in 2005 to 144 attendees; 2006 was a banner year with 212 students. The course’s popularity has proven its value and success year in and year out.
There seems to be no end of opportunity these days as the need to understand our business increases. Whether it is because of high prices or threats of shortages, more people want to know what this business is all about. Oil Patch Orientation is ably taught by Ron Hinn, John Farina, and Susan Howes. My thanks to these volunteers for their good work. The course is part of our Continuing Education Program, led by Diego Narvaez and Suzanne Adams.
 
One of the more exciting opportunities for me is the possibility of cosponsoring the course with the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The Museum is an outstanding institution, hosting, among other exhibits, the Wiess Energy Hall.
 
We are considering having the Oil Patch Orientation course in the Museum this spring. With some minor modifications in the current program we can give the participants an opportunity to visit the Wiess exhibit as part of the course. That way we can take advantage of both of these two great programs at the same time. The idea was originally advanced by Lynn Wisda, director of volunteers with the Museum. Thanks, Lynn, for a great idea.
 
Workforce Training
 
The Houston Community College System—Northeast (HCC-NE) has innovative plans to establish a petroleum engineering technology program with classes beginning this summer. The school’s Energy Institute was established in 2000 and currently includes five fully accredited workforce programs supporting the energy industry. They offer certificates and associates degrees in applied science in instrumentation and controls engineering technology, process technology, chemical engineering technology, chemical laboratory technology, and biotechnology.
 
The first meeting of the steering committee was held last February, with our own Jeanne Perdue elected chair and Patty Davis elected vice-chair. HCC-NE’s John Galiotos provides leadership from the college system. This is an exciting program that deserves the full support of our industry. If your company is interested in supporting petroleum engineering technology education, please contact John, Jeanne or Patty. Your support will be appreciated.