The job market around Williamsport is rebounding, and some businesses are even having a hard time getting workers, employers are saying.
And the jobs are not just in the gas fields. Companies are also looking to fill vacancies created by those who left to work in the Marcellus Shale.“We need to get the word out, there are jobs,” said Peter DePasquale, who owns DePasquale Staffing Service and said he had a message for anyone that left the area in search of work: “Come on back.”
Ford of Williamsport has been trying for three months to hire a diesel technician, service manager Grant Myers said.
Companies working in the gas fields are “pulling guys from shops,” he said. “We’re having difficulty filling the void.”
Even entry-level technicians are enticed by the prospect of high pay with the gas companies, DePasquale said. He hasn’t been able to find any candidates for those positions, he said.
Susquehanna Health has had to expand the number of vendors it uses to repair its 14 diesel vehicles, including ambulances, because garages lost their technicians, said Tim Shumbat, manager of pre-hospital services.
River Valley Transit, which provides local bus service to most of the communities in Lycoming County, has had to outsource some of its work because it is down one diesel technician, said William Nichols, who runs the operation for the city.
“We’re having a real tough time,” he said. “How to fill the void is the question of the day.”
Students graduating from the Pennsylvania College of Technology with two-year degrees in heavy equipment technology and diesel mechanics are being offered up to $20 an hour, said Mary Sullivan, dean of natural resources management.
Some graduates are earning $70,000 a year, she said.
Companies are telling the college “we’ll take everyone you can give us and then some,” Sullivan said. A graduate can pick from 15 to 20 jobs, she said.
Penn College, a special mission affiliate of Penn State, graduates about 26 diesel technicians each year, she said.
Enrollment is capped due to the lack of space to add sections, she said.
The pay is obviously a big incentive to train for jobs in the Marcellus Shale, but Sullivan said she cautions students that work may require very long work weeks.
Those not interested in those jobs should look at the positions available in places such as dealerships, she said.
$70,000/year? I have half a mind to quit my job and move south. Not the first time I have contemplated this, either.
The Conservative Party of New York releases a memo in support of hydraulic fracturing: "Simply put: Hydraulic fracturing means jobs and energy for New Yorkers. "