Eagle Ford Shale question: How to prosper after boom-bust cycle?

May 21, 2013 at 12:21 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2013 at 12:22 a.m.

With the economic impact of the Eagle Ford Shale more than doubling from $25 billion in 2011 to $61 billion in 2012, officials are working on how to keep the South Texas boom from going bust.

The University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development released the study in March and predicted the 20-county region, including Victoria, will support 127,000 jobs and have an economic impact of $89 billion by 2022.

Eagle Ford Shale Consortium leaders and industry representatives met Tuesday at Victoria College to discuss economic diversification and how to bring jobs to Texas.

President of Victoria College Tom Butler said they brought the Consortium leadership in to educate Victoria about the Eagle Ford Shale and how to take advantage of the opportunities.

"We do not believe the community as a whole has knowledge of the impacts of the Eagle Ford Shale. ... There is going to be a huge impact whether we know what is coming or not. So the more you prepare, the more you are able to shape the future of this," Butler said.

Butler said VC has ramped up its truck driving, welding and instrumentation and electronics courses. A new program for oil and gas technicians is expected to start in another year, Butler said.

Initially, when they looked at training students for employment in Eagle Ford Shale, Butler said truck driving was the most needed course, but now they are focusing on the electronics.

"That is the part of the puzzle we have to solve. ... As the industry changes, we will have to change to meet the new needs," Butler said.

Henry Guajardo, board director of the Golden Crescent Texas Workforce Commission, advocated promoting Texas jobs in other states and promoting Eagle Ford Shale jobs in parts of the state with high unemployment.

He also encouraged focusing on recruiting from the high school and college graduate pool in South Texas.



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