Local ISD’s Respond to Oil & Gas Needs - South Texas Alliance for Regional Trade

Dec 5, 2013


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As if to underscore the impact that the Eagle Ford Shale is having on the South Texas region, Laredo’s two independent school districts this fall launched training programs to meet the workforce demands. With the start of the new school year, both Laredo ISD and United ISD have initiated programs of study addressing needs of the Oil & Gas industry. Webb County offers the largest populated area on the southwest end of the shale and, as such, has been one of the larger sources of labor for surrounding counties directly involved in drilling exploration.

The programs offered by the two local school districts are setting the mark as far as the educational system responding to the needs of local industry. They may also serve as models for implementation by other school districts within the state.

Laredo ISD introduced its oil and gas program at the Sabas Perez Engineering Magnet School located at Cigarroa High School. Students enrolled in the program face a curriculum that addresses engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics and electricity. Upon completion of the program students will graduate with up to 12 semester hours of dual credit from Laredo Community College. The program provides two tracks – That of oil-and-gas specialist for students aiming to enter the labor force directly, and an academic route for those interested in pursuing a petroleum engineering degree.

United ISD’s program of study is available at each of its four high schools. The program first came into focus when a local community group met with representatives of the Lewis Energy Group to strategize. As a result, three Oil and Gas Academy courses were developed and submitted for approval to the Texas Education Agency, which subsequently gave its approval. Faculty from the various high schools was sought out to launch the program, which is offered as early as the 9th grade. Coursework at the senior level can receive dual credit form Laredo Community College.