Provides an overview of the ShaleNET initiative’s history and partnerships; describes the initiative’s goals and activities for a Round 2 TAACCCT grant aimed at achieving a number of outcomes and impacts at the system, industry, and participant levels; and offers early outcomes as of Dec. 31, 2014 from a third-party evaluation of the TAACCCT activities.

“Currently funded by a Round 2 Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), the ShaleNET initiative is aimed at expanding the breadth and effectiveness of the training options and career pathways through which participants can work towards careers in the shale oil and gas industry. The TAACCCT-funded portion of the initiative is administered by a consortium of four educational institutions located in or near four major shale gas and oil production plays” (p.7).

“This Interim Report is the first major deliverable resulting [from a] third-party evaluation of the TAACCCT-funded aspects of the ShaleNET initiative. It uses data collected by research team members through the end of December 2014….[The report] concludes…with a brief description of early outcomes from the initiative” (p.15-16).

In its earliest phases, “the ShaleNET initiative aimed to achieve a number of outcomes for students, particularly those in certain targeted groups....The initiative also sought to meet targets for numbers of students enrolled, and to ensure that those students earned credit hours (if in credit programs), completed ShaleNET programs of study, and then either continued their studies or found employment in the oil and gas industry” (p.84).

“[T]he ShaleNET initiative also aimed to achieve a number of system-level outcomes, including operating and developing new credit training programs, enhancing existing programs, adding more intensive supports for students, and expanding training programs and curricula into new regions. The initiative also aimed to enhance partnerships with the oil and gas industry—at least partly by helping industry employers to meet their hiring and training needs—as well as to improve collaboration with the public workforce system” (p.90).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The authors present the following preliminary outcomes as of December 31, 2014: Early Student Outcomes • “ShaleNET hubs had served mostly male (91 percent) students, who averaged thirty-one years old. Most of these students identified as white (69 percent), although about one fifth (19 percent) were African American….Just over half of all…students (61 percent) were enrolled full-time in a training program, about one third were Pell-grant eligible…[and] about nine percent of students were eligible veterans, and almost none were TAA eligible” (p.85). • “[H]ubs had enrolled 963 unique students in twenty-five ShaleNET training programs” (p.86). • “[S]tudents as a whole had earned 16,015 credit hours and completed 1,154 credentials” (p.87). • “About 73 percent of ShaleNET completers across all hubs were reported to be employed” (p.89). Early System-Level Outcomes • “[H]ubs hubs had developed twenty new training programs, all of which were credit…[and] students were generally very positive about the delivery of these new programs” (p.90). • “[H]ubs substantially enhanced most existing programs and courses, typically through the addition of new equipment for use in labs and in hands-on practice activities…[and] [s]tudent focus group participants reported that the chance to use this new equipment was one of the best and most useful aspects of their ShaleNET training” (p.91-92). • “All hubs provided at least one career counselor who offered various forms of support to participants, including academic coaching, career coaching, job search, and problem-solving for life issues” (p.92). • “The ShaleNET initiative had added new hubs as well as several other new higher education partnerships, spreading the use of its noncredit curricula into Texas and its credit curricula into Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia” (p.94). • “[E]mployers reported that they utilized the hubs for many of their hiring needs…[and] industry partners demonstrated the strength of their relationship with ShaleNET by contributing significant resources to support the initiative” (p.95-96). • “Most WIBs (85 percent) in ShaleNET hub regions reported being ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ knowledgeable about the ShaleNET program” (p.96). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)