OSU Institute of Technology’s newest academic program in the energy sector will celebrate its first class of graduates during Friday’s commencement ceremony.
The ceremony, OSUIT’s 200th, will be held at 2 p.m., April 24 in Covelle Hall on the OSUIT campus in Okmulgee.
Each of the four came to the Pipeline Integrity program a little differently, but they are all now looking forward to careers in the energy sector.
Dipen Patel was taking his basic courses at OSUIT when someone told him about Pipeline Integrity Technology.
Jake Thompson was already working in the pipeline industry when he enrolled at the university.
Christian Perdasofpy was driving through Okmulgee with his father, an OSUIT alum, and they decided to stop at the school where they learned of the pipeline program.
Jake Richards took welding courses at a vocational school before enrolling in OSUIT’s newest program.
“A career in the ever-growing pipeline industry was a big draw,” Richards said. “And the money doesn’t hurt.”
The opportunity to have a career in a lucrative industry where skilled technicians are in great demand is very appealing.
The need for technicians to install, maintain, inspect and repair the country’s millions of miles of pipeline infrastructure that transport the majority of the nation’s oil and natural gas is growing as the current workforce reaches retirement age.
That’s why industry leaders reached out to OSUIT to develop a Pipeline Integrity program to educate new technicians and develop existing talent for a sustainable workforce.
Joe Bartlett, who worked in the pipeline industry for close to two decades, was hired as the program’s first dedicated instructor.
“I’m pretty proud. Very proud,” Bartlett said of his first graduating class. “These guys are ready. I had my doubts when I first came here.”
Since then the program has received thousands of dollars in donations from companies and organizations such as Phillips 66 and the Gas Processors Association/Gas Processors Suppliers Association for training equipment and classroom improvements.
That kind of industry support as well real-world internships made his students more confident and better equipped for the workforce, Bartlett said.
“Without that hands-on experience, you could never appreciate what goes into repairing and maintaining the pipeline,” he said. “After their internships and their training this year, I think they’re ready to make their mark on the pipeline world.”