WVU Parkersburg Preparing for Petrochemical Jobs
West Virginia University at Parkersburg is working to identify the major industries and staffing needs associated with the proposed ethane cracker plant in Wood County.
In November 2013, the Brazil-based Odebrecht Organization announced a location near Parkersburg, W.Va. for an ethane cracker and associated polyethylene plants. Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise, or project ASCENT, will use ethane produced in West Virginia as a result of the development of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
WVU Parkersburg hired Dr. Tom Witt, a former business researcher at West Virginia University to analyze the school's current program offerings and the economic impact of this new development. Witt says his report can provide guidance as to the kinds of jobs associated with the overall growth of a petrochemical industry. He says WVU Parkersburg can use this information to prepare educational and workforce programs for students.
In an earlier report for the school, Witt outlined other industries in the region likely to see growth with the development of a petrochemical complex. These include such sectors as food services, wholesale trade businesses, real estate, healthcare, legal services, retail and others.