USA builds welding library

From staff reports

SALINEVILLE — The Utica Shale Academy has established a welding library to provide resources as students expand their knowledge.

Director Eric Sampson said a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center helped equip the library with literature and supplies to prepare students for the oil and gas industry.

Sampson said the library resources would benefit USA, and items were provided by Tom Baker, vice president of Salem Welding and Supply Co., while the selection included masks, gloves, jackets, clamps, posters and reading material.

Officials noted some materials could be made available for the satellite location at Columbiana High School.

About 14 juniors and seniors from Southern Local and Columbiana high schools take welding classes through a partnership with the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool, and more students will participate in the future, officials said. The students began attending in September and study at NCST for approximately two hours a day and three days a week to earn 250 hours of welding credit.

“We got the supplies before Christmas and it is available in the classroom for kids to look at and learn about welding,” he added. “My goal was for kids in the welding program (at NCST) to explain what they were to others not yet involved. It’s for kids to learn about the welding field and safety.”

He added the Best Practice Grant has enabled the academy to provide a variety of materials and help students get ready for the work force. Among the other items previously acquired for USA were shale maps and hydrogen sulfide monitors.

“The grant from JCESC allowed us to purchase this and supplement the program,” he added.

Meanwhile, Baker said he was thrilled the company could assist USA and he hoped they could collaborate further in the future, noting the academy also would generate the next generation of workers in the growing energy field.

“This is our first time working with Utica Shale Academy,” he said. “We like to help students get people familiar with the industry. Oil and gas is growing and the academy is helping to provide quality people for the field.”

About 50 students are currently enrolled in USA between the Southern Local and Columbiana High School sites, and registration is open to accommodate more. The academy is sponsored by JCESC and is open to students in grades ninth through 12th.

For information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at