On Tuesday, Sept. 10, Dr. Mike Flores announced the newest addition to Palo Alto College’s degree programs– an Associate of Applied Science in Oil and Gas Technology. Celebrating with the announcement were special guests Dr. Bruce Leslie, Chancellor of the Alamo Colleges; Omar Garcia, president of South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable (STEER); Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Rey Madrigal, Superintendent of Harlandale ISD.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the program in June 2013, and the program’s first students were admitted in Fall 2013. Students will receive training as petroleum pump systems operators, service unit operators, roustabouts, and other similar process and production technician positions.
In this unique two-year stacked model, students can earn an entry-level certificate in a four-month term and apply it toward the associate degree requirements. The stacked program begins with an 18-hour Entry Level Energy Technician Certificate, followed by a 12-hour Career Foundation Certificate. Academic credits earned from the two certificates can be applied to one of two tracks in the degree program – Process Technology or Production Technician. Online classes with hands-on open labs will be offered to provide flexibility in course completion.
Palo Alto College also received a $300,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund to purchase equipment for training including process control and instrumentation trainers, simulation software, pump training systems, industrial wiring system, motor control system, and more. The equipment will be used for hands-on learning consistent with industry needs.
Palo Alto College will become the only college within a 100-mile radius of San Antonio offering this type of degree, joining other colleges in Texas – Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, College of the Mainland in Texas City, Navarro College in Corsicana, and Coastal Bend College in Beeville.
The Eagle Ford Shale region is the most active shale play in the world with over 265 rigs currently active and more than 129,000 jobs expected in the next 10 years.