ST. CLAIRSVILLE -- Twelve Ohio institutions, including Belmont College in St. Clarsivlle received $220,000 in Dominion Foundation Higher Education Grants during a presentation at the University of Akron's Martin University Center.
The grants focus on programs that will help prepare students for technical positions in Ohio's growing energy production and other industries.
The Dominion Foundation is the charitable arm of Dominion Resources, Dominion East Ohio's parent company.
Belmont College receives $20,000 from Dominion Resources to purchase welding equipment which will be used to train students for work in the oil and gas industry.
"Dominion East Ohio has a long and proud tradition of providing natural gas services throughout the state," Jeff Murphy, Managing director, Commercial Operations, noted during the presentation luncheon. "We were an active participant in the first Appalachian natural gas boom of the early 1900s and are now providing competitive reliable gathering, transportation and processing services for Ohio producers in the new, 21st century natural gas boom. Ohio's colleges and universities also provide an essential service to the natural gas renaissance. They are equipping our area workforce to maximize the economic benefits and to ensure effective stewardship of these new energy supplies. Potentially even more significant, the talented innovators that study at Ohio's colleges today will contribute to the growth of manufacturing, transportation and service sectors made possible by affordable, abundant local energy."
Belmont College received $20,000 from the Dominion Resources grants which will assist with purchasing equipment that will support and build student skills in a controlled environment welding lab.
According to Dirk DeCoy, director of Industrial Trades and Contract Training at Belmont College, the grant will be used to purchase four TIG welders which will be installed in the College's welding lab, which is currently being refurbished.
"Our welding lab refurbishing project is now almost complete; the addition of the new welders will be installed in four of our 16 new weld booths," said Decoy. "Upon completion of the welding labs, we will have increased our ARC welding capacity by nearly 70 percent, giving us a total of 40 welding booths with ARC welding capabilities."
Belmont College has offered hands-on welding training for 35 years.
The welding program offers students the option of a one-year certificate or a two-year associate degree in welding technology, as well as specialized training in pipeline welding.
Oftentimes graduates of the welding program seek employment in the coal or steel industry; however with the increase in pipefitters and construction in the oil and gas industry, graduates have more opportunities for immediate employment in the oil and gas industry.
The Ohio Higher Education Grants are part of nearly $1.4 million in Dominion Foundation grants the Dominion Foundation is awarding this year to colleges and primary and secondary schools in states where Dominion does business, including Ohio, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,000 megawatts of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines.
Dominion operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states.
For more information about Dominion, visit the company's web site at www.dom.com
For information about Belmont College's welding program contact Dirk DeCoy, director of Industrial Trades and Contract Training at 740-699-3867 or visit www.belmontcollege.edu.