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Consortium shares information on Eagle Ford Shale project

June 1, 2013 at 1:01 a.m.

Victoria College is among 11 colleges and universities in South Texas working with the Eagle Ford Consortium to address workforce needs and economies in the region. Pictured, from left, are Gilbert Gonzalez, UTSA Institute for Economic Development; Tom Butler, Victoria College president; Jennifer Yancey, VC vice president, College Advancement & External Affairs; Chris Ashcraft, South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable; Leodoro Martinez, consortium chairman; Jose Ceballos, American Natural Gas Alliance; Betty Sifuentes, Middle Rio Grande Development Council; and Jose Alcala, EFS Consortium Planner.

The Eagle Ford Shale project has grown considerably in the last four years and has the potential to increase over the next 10-15 years.

That's the message delivered last week to some 50 Crossroads-area government, community, education and health representatives at a recent Eagle Ford Consortium informational meeting at Victoria College.

The Eagle Ford Consortium began two and a half years ago. Victoria College was represented at the first meeting, said Consortium Chairman Leodoro Martinez.

One of the consortium's primary goals is to develop and foster effective lines of communications with oil and gas industry and communities.

It also coordinates workforce and education efforts to improve employment of dislocated and underemployed workers, according to the group's website.

"We are going through a transformative process; it's phenomenal," Martinez said of the oil and gas project in South Texas. "Our communities are going to change forever."

Martinez said the Eagle Ford Shale project has resulted in a $61 billion impact and has supported 116,000 jobs in a 20-county area.

"The unemployment rate has dropped tremendously but has created an additional problem," he said. "This year, we have a 3.4 percent unemployment rate, and there are no more workers."

To solve that problem, workers are transported to drilling sites from San Antonio, Laredo, Eagle Pass and other locations.

"This gives us a challenge and an opportunity, depending on how you look at it," said Martinez.

Victoria College is among 11 colleges and universities in South Texas working with the consortium to address workforce needs and economies in the region.

"I am honored to have been involved with the consortium since 2010," said Jennifer Yancey, Victoria College vice president of College Advancement and External Affairs. "This is an amazing group of citizens committed to the success, prosperity and sustainability of the South Texas Region.

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