By Evamarie Socha
SUNBURY — If you have a commercial driver’s license, the job is yours.
While statistics vary on how much Marcellus Shale is fueling state employment numbers, the industry has done wonders for those who hold CDLs, and seems to have a never-ending need for drivers.
“Marcellus Shale has pulled a lot of drivers from this area,” said Dennis Hain, administrative director of SUN Area Technical Institute in New Berlin.
About 10 percent of jobs in the Marcellus Shale industry is for those with CDLs, Hain said, citing a study. Another 17 percent is for heavy equipment, a related field, he said.
That makes for even more employment opportunities at companies that lose drivers to the natural gas industry, he said. Within a 50-mile radius of SUN Tech, about 195 CDL openings were listed, Hain said.
“We are always hiring for drivers,” said Lisa Stanchick, human resource director for Minuteman Environmental Services, Mifflinville, which works in Marcellus Shale.
In the three months that she’s been with the company, about 94 drivers have been hired, Stanchick said, and the company usually averages about 10 hires a week…
…Meanwhile, CDL schools are seeing a bump in enrollment.
“I’d say we’re up about 25 percent,” said Brick Kepler, director of Professional Drivers Academy in Milton. “We were training 50 students per year. We’re going to be 60 or better this year.”
In the past 18 months, the majority of the academy’s graduates have found work with Marcellus Shale, Kepler said.
“Recruiters are calling us for the opportunity to hire our grads,” he said, adding about a half-dozen water haulers, including ECM, do business with the academy.