Lackawanna College Towanda Offers PNG Introductory Courses

Bradford County residents will soon have a way to start their petroleum and natural gas education closer to home.

Lackawanna College’s Towanda Center will start offering three introductory Petroleum & Natural Gas (PNG) courses in January as a way to provide additional access to the degree program. Currently, classes are offered at Lackawanna College’s Tunkhannock Center.

To announce the new class offerings, Lackawanna College officials held an event on Aug. 24 where Chesapeake Energy delivered a wellhead, which will be on display on the front lawn of the Towanda Center.

A wellhead is used in the energy field and is the component at the surface of an oil or gas well that provides the structural and pressure-containing interface for the drilling and production equipment. Several businesses helped Chesapeake prepare the wellhead for Lackawanna. Those businesses were Xtreme Truckin, ROC Service Co., Technip FMC, Salandra Painting Inc. and Evergreen Oilfield Solutions.

“The petroleum and natural gas industry is in need of qualified, well-trained employees,” said Lackawanna College President Dr. Jill Murray. “The industry is projected to see about 50% of its current workforce retire in the next five to seven years. Lackawanna College’s decision to offer these classes in Towanda shows our commitment to the local communities. We are always looking to enhance our educational offerings so we know community members get what they need to be successful in the local workforce.”

The new classes at the Towanda Center are Petroleum & Natural Gas Technology (PNG 105), Math for PNG (Math 150) and Physical Science for PNG (PHY 150). Students will still need to travel to Tunkhannock for their hands-on classes.

“Our hands-on PNG classes will still be offered at our Tunkhannock Center, but courses in Towanda will mean students won’t have to travel to Tunkhannock for all of their classes,” said Sue Gumble, program director for Lackawanna College’s School of PNG.

Kelly White, Towanda Center director, said the new courses will be geared toward students still in high school, those who just graduated and those who are looking for retraining.

“The introductory courses will give students the chance to take some of their PNG classes here in their hometown,” White said. “Our dual enrollment students in high school can get a jumpstart on their education with these classes. Other students will have the chance to take those introductory courses here as a first step in their education and training and then use this as a building block to advance.”

The new classes are also the result of feedback from the local energy sector, which has a large presence in Wyoming County, where the School of PNG in Tunkhannock is, and in Bradford County, where the Towanda Center is.

“We want to continue building our partnerships with the local communities and businesses,” Gumble said. “Offering these classes helps us continue that work. The energy industry likes to hire people from the local communities. They want to help communities thrive by having jobs people can work at so local workers have good career opportunities.”

Ashley Knox, a School of PNG instructor, Lackawanna College alumni and Optimization Foreman with Chesapeake Energy, said Chesapeake is pleased to partner with Lackawanna to expand the classes to other locations.

“We’re hoping the equipment will help generate community interest in the program,” Knox said. “Companies like Chesapeake need qualified workers, and the new classes in Towanda will be a great way for the College to help grow the local workforce.”

Lackawanna College offers a Petroleum & Natural Gas Business Administration associate degree, Petroleum & Natural Gas Technology associate degree and certificates in Petroleum & Natural Gas Technician and Petroleum & Natural Gas Compressor/Engine Mechanic.

Students interested in learning more about the PNG program in Tunkhannock or courses in Towanda can visit the College’s website.

They can also contact the School of PNG at (570) 866-1900 and the Towanda Center at (570) 265-3449.