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Industry Investment in West Virginia is Good News for WVU Tech Grads [WCHS TV]

WCHS-TV8 – August 12, 2014
By Stefano DiPietrantonio, WCHS-TV8

Columbia Pipeline Group Announces $1.75 Billion Pipeline Project

(Watch Video)

Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia

With big coal about to take a big hit with potential layoff, Columbia Pipeline Group is investing 1-point-75 billion to move all of the natural gas being mined from the Marcellus and Utica production areas, building a 160-mile pipeline in Ohio and West Virginia. This is a huge investment for West Virginia.

Columbia said it will enhance their already existing gas supply lines in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia and Eastern Ohio, and they will be hiring for all sorts of high-paying engineering and project management positions. The second part of the investment involves a long-term shipping agreement from the Appalachian basin to the Gulf of Mexico.

Columbia Pipeline Group and its parent company Nisource, are going to pump 1.75 billion dollars into the region. It’s the single biggest investment Nisource has ever made.

“The demand is greater than we have the capacity for right now and that’s why we’re adding this new pipeline,” said Scott Castleman, who is a spokesman for the Columbia Pipeline Group.

It’s called the Leach Express Pipeline and will demand a lot of people to get it built.

“It’ll start in Marshall County, West Virginia, travel to Southeast Ohio, and into Kentucky,” said Castleman.

And it will move 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The project is still in the early stages. Columbia is working with Feds to get final approval on details. Construction should start in 2016 and be completed sometime in 2017.

“This is the largest project in our company’s history,” said Castleman. We’ve been in this area over a hundred years now.”

And it’s not just construction jobs. There are plenty of permanent positions as well.

“Engineers, project managers, project schedulers, high-paying jobs right here in Charleston,” said Castleman.

Jobs that are open right now. And with so many coal miners facing layoffs, it could be an outlet for a career change.

“Is this the kind of work that somebody who was released from a coal mine, could either be retrained or jump into this kind of work?,” we asked Castleman. “That’s a great question. Absolutely! With the engineering, project management, project scheduling, with experience and with training, those are things you can actually jump into,” he replied.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for WVU Tech and our students and graduates,” said Jen Wood, who is Director of University Relations at WVU Tech.

Local graduates are looking for work and hoping to stay at home.

“For engineers who get their degree here in West Virginia, many don’t stay in West Virginia after they get it!,” we said to Wood. “That means jobs for our new grads, also opportunities for our recent grads or past grads to move up into higher-level positions,” said Wood, “It also makes it also makes it much more attractive for students to come to Tech, and to West Virginia to study here.”

Nisource said the number of construction jobs will be significant. The engineering jobs will require a college degree. If you’d like to see if you meet the requirements for any of the open positions and to fill-out an application, just go to:

Full article at WCHS-TV8: