Ohio’s First Women in Energy Summit

In 2010, women accounted for 226,000 oil, gas and petrochemical industry jobs.  That’s 19% of total employment in these industries across all job categories:  professional and managerial, office and support and blue collar.  A new study by IHS and the American Petroleum Institute projects that job opportunities for women in these industries will grow by almost 70,000 between 2010 and 2030. But to realize the full benefits available to women and ensure employers will have properly trained workers, we must significantly improve their training for these jobs.  That means a greater emphasis on training in science, technology engineering, mathematics (STEM) and the skilled trades.

Yesterday, Ohio’s first Women in Energy Summit was held at the Mahoning County Career and Technology Center.  Sponsored by Congressman Bill Johnson, the Summit was attended by more than 150 representatives from local government, education, training and support organizations, career counselors and students.

Two panels, the first on “Opportunities in Manufacturing &Skilled Trades” and the second on “Opportunities in Energy Careers”, were the highlight of the Summit.  Nancy Hanlan, Local 18 Operating Engineers, Kim Stern, Local 396, Plumbers and Pipefitters, and Dale Forester, Vice President, Starr Manufacturing discussed training and apprenticeship programs that help prepare women for high-paying manufacturing jobs, like welders and machinists.  Then Callie Zazzi, EnerVest; Elena Guevara, Marathon Petroleum Corporation; and Donna Van VanDeman, UEO Buckeye told their stories about building successful engineering careers in the energy industry.

It was an inspiring Summit about breaking barriers and opening doors for women in industries that are expected to see incredible growth over the next two decades.  More discussions like this one will help lead the way toward preparing Ohio women for good-paying jobs and fulfilling careers, as well as increase the pool of skilled workers for Ohio employers to choose from.