Now hiring: STEM jobs in natgas, energy

The jobs of tomorrow are available today. But there is a shortage of skilled workers to fill them.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees and hiring have gained traction since 2000, according to U.S. News & World Report, with STEM jobs increasing by 28 percent over 16 years. However, the U.S. continues to struggle with filling the jobs of the future, despite the fact that these positions often don’t require costly four-year or advanced degrees.

The jobs available are stable and high paying. On average, non-STEM majors make $49,500 per year, Business Insider reports, while STEM majors earn $65,000. These aren’t just workers in the computer and information sciences fields — STEM opportunities are available across a number of sectors, including energy jobs created by projects like Atlantic Sunrise.

These jobs have been an opportunity for those looking for stable work that pays well. Many of the available energy jobs don’t require a four-year degree that is often financed by tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. The following are just a few of the schools in Pennsylvania that offer certificate programs or two-year degrees to prepare students for high-earning careers in the energy industry:

Natural gas jobs aren’t just isolated in the energy sector. Many manufacturers, most notably the plastics industry, use natural gas byproducts as a feedstock for their products. Pennsylvania is home to two accredited plastics engineering schools:

Educational and employment opportunities are available and plentiful. Projects like the Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline will continue to create job opportunities for STEM workers, keeping these skilled employees right here in Pennsylvania.

The energy jobs of tomorrow depend on educating STEM students today.

Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program accepting applications

Williams is committed to being a good community neighbor and environmental steward. That’s why we established a grant program to benefit local communities where the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project is being constructed.

Established in 2015, the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant Program has shared more than $2 million across the 10-county Atlantic Sunrise project area in support of noteworthy projects.

Eligible organizations can apply for grants up to $10,000 per applicant to fund projects that provide benefit to local communities or the environment. Projects funded by the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program include:

  1. Emergency/first responder support
  2. Youth or senior services
  3. Education programs
  4. Economic development
  5. Enhancement of open spaces and park land for recreational enjoyment
  6. Assistance in the enrichment of wildlife habitat
  7. Promotion of environmental education
  8. Purchases of property for preservation of wetlands and wildlife habitat
  9. Purchases of property to access public lands, water resources, scenic and wildlife views, and for enhancement or development of active recreational areas

Last fall, Williams distributed more than $292,000 to 35 organizations that reside in, and/or provide services to communities where the Atlantic Sunrise project is being constructed, including a $10,000 grant to help Pennsylvania College of Technology launch a makerspace on its main campus and more than $50,000 in grants to five organizations in Lancaster County.

Interested applicants can file a simple application online. Applications must be submitted by March 1.

Lancaster County veterans group restoring Vietnam-era helicopter; get $10,000 boost from Williams

A group in Lancaster County hopes to bring a piece of history back to life, and they’re one step closer thanks to a $10,000 Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant.

Vietnam War veterans will be able to take a trip back in time in once The Liberty War Birds, a Lititz-based group of veterans who specialize in restoring Vietnam-era helicopters, are finished with their renovation of a 1966 HUEY 823 helicopter.

For everyone on board with the War Birds, there’s a new mission to execute: restore a “Huey,” the iconic UH-1 helicopter that defined America’s presence in Vietnam, and return it to the skies. The group hopes that one day the restored helicopter will be a touchstone for local Vietnam War veterans.

“How great would it be to take this to the Coatesville VA center and deliver Thanksgiving dinner to the veterans there?” Michael Caimi, vice president of the Liberty War Birds, said.

Caimi and a team volunteers gather each weekend in a hangar at the Lancaster Airport where they’ve been working on the aircraft since April 2015. Lead crew chief Kevin Schnetzka showed off the ongoing project during a tour last year, and said nearly everything on board is original to when it was built and used in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1970. Even the nose art has been restored to its original design by a fortuitous resource — Vietnam veteran Russ Mowry, who was the Huey 283’s pilot at one time and painted original nose art on the unit’s fleet of helicopters.

Jim Haga, president and founding member the Liberty War Birds, said the group was overjoyed last summer when Mowry came to see his old chopper. While in Carlisle, Pa., during Army Heritage Days at the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center Mowry repainted the nose with a fire-breathing dragon and a curvy, bikini-clad woman to signify the chopper’s call signs, “The Flying Dragons” and “The Bikinis.”

The Huey is already drawing veterans together, Haga said. They gather inside the hangar to share stories. Some sit silently, quietly observant of the project unfolding before them.

There’s no telling when it will get back in the air — the group projects the complete restoration will cost about $475,000. They’ve successfully raised more than $200,000 so far, and the group received another big financial boost during the sixth round of the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program.

Williams awarded $42,300 in grant money to a number of Lancaster County groups during the fall grant cycle. The Liberty War Birds received a $10,000 grant, designed to go towards buying a new engine for the helicopter — a significant step toward taking flight again.

“To see us be able to help them accomplish their mission, it’s very important,” Joe Horvath, spokesperson for Williams, said.

The Huey 823 is a trip in a time machine for the many veterans who see the helicopter up close. For them, it’s the unmistakable sound of an era. It’s not easy, Haga said, but for many veterans, hearing the iconic helicopter fly and seeing it up close is a way to help them cope with their post-traumatic stress disorders.

“Probably the last time they saw this helicopter was a bad memory for them, likely being Medivac’d out of the country. They walk in this hangar door and it’s instant tears,” Schnetzka said. “They step inside this helicopter and they turn to all smiles. We’ll come up to them and by the time they leave here and they’re telling stories their families probably never heard.”

The group has even enlisted the help of PTSD therapist and Vietnam veteran Alexis Lake, who talks to some of the veterans who visit the hangar.

“The Huey gets them talking. It’s a starting point, and a touchstone for a generation who came home and didn’t have anyone to talk to about what happened,” Lake said. “When Vietnam vets came home, we were told, don’t tell your stories. The stories may be buried, but the emotions are always filtering up. We want this to be a project that begins the healing.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the next round of Atlantic Sunrise Community Grants. Applications for this round of grants must be submitted by March 1.

Spring in winter’: Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline a win for Lancaster County businesses

Lancaster County’s economy is reaping the benefits from the construction of Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The area is projected to receive a $75.5 million economic boost, a great delight to businesses, but especially to those that slow down during the winter.

Claudette Korzniecki, co-owner of Flory’s Cottages & Camping in Ronks, Pa. recently told LNP that Atlantic Sunrise has “helped us pay our bills. Wintertime is always tough.”

She added that pipeline workers are “spending a fortune in this area. People don’t realize how much they spend. They go to musical shows, doctors, dentists, buy groceries and fuel.”

The 10 Pennsylvania counties that will be home to the 197-mile Atlantic Sunrise pipeline will all see economic benefits from pipeline construction. For many, such as Cleveland Brothers in Ephrata, Pa., the project means “high-paying jobs that are needed,” as company director of marketing Todd Regar told the newspaper.

For others, it means jobs and upgrades to equipment. Darrel Lehman Dump Truck Services CEO Gail Lehman told LNP that the Elizabethtown company’s Atlantic Sunrise work afforded it the opportunity to buy a new truck, as well as having her drivers work on Saturdays “for the first time in months.”

“It’s been a blessing. It’s created a lot more business for us,” Lehman said.

While Atlantic Sunrise will bring more abundant, affordable natural gas to U.S. homes and businesses, it’s also benefiting local businesses in the project area. Maybe the benefits of this project were put best by Rob Wraihay, co-owner of Manheim, Pa.-based Warihay Enterprises:

“It’s like spring in winter!”Read the entire article to see how Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is working for Lancaster County.

PA Proud: Natural gas brings you Super Bowl Sunday

Everyone knows there’s a lot of energy on Super Bowl Sunday, but what you may not realize is much of that energy is made possible thanks to natural gas.

Williams handles about 30 percent of the nation’s natural gas, transporting it through pipelines like the Atlantic Sunrise system currently under construction in Pennsylvania. That’s why it’s natural for us to take a moment to reflect on how natural gas impacts this annual event.

As you sit down on Sunday night and turn on your television, which is likely powered by natural gas, enjoy your drink of choice in a cup made with natural gas and snack on your own favorite football treats on a plate made from natural gas, consider how important the benefits of this abundant domestic resource are in our everyday lives.

Natural gas powers football. Look for these during the Super Bowl to see how natural gas does more than just provide clean-burning energy:

  1. Footballs
  2. Cleats
  3. Helmets
  4. Jerseys
  5. Artificial turf
  6. Lights
  7. Clipboards
  8. Loudspeakers
  9. Water bottles
  10. Hats
  11. Fan gear
  12. Signage
  13. Cameras
  14. Cups
  15. Facepaint

Enjoy the game!