Pulaski County pilot program to offer training in natural gas industry

SOMERSET, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials in Pulaski County are set to launch a new job training program in the natural gas industry. Students in Somerset and Pulaski County are signing up now for the program. Students can receive college credit for their work and could potentially graduate ready to work in the natural gas field.

Somerset mayor Eddie Girdler says the project began about two years ago, when the city realized it needed more workers trained to be natural gas technicians.

"We were very surprised that there were no training programs in the state of Kentucky for a massive field of potential good paying jobs," he said.

A partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education, the Pulaski County Area Technology Center, the City of Somerset and city and county schools, the pilot program will cost an estimated $250,000 during the first three years. Officials say students are already excited about it.

"We've had a great interest," said Dr. Beth Hargis, principal of the Pulaski County Area Technology Center. "We're going around to all of the high schools telling them what we have, and the students are very excited about it."

The mayor says the new program will get students on their way to skilled and well-paying jobs in a growing field.

The program will include an introduction to natural gas, as well as a job safety course.

"Upon leaving us, they will have part you know four courses that hopefully will translate into college credit for them, and then they're going to have a jump start on an associates degree in natural gas pipeline technician," Hargis said.

Officials say students are signing up now for classes in the fall. The city is also planning an $8.5 million energy hub for the city's gas pipeline. The mayor says he expects the facility will create several new jobs.

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