MONTGOMERY - On Jan. 21, joined by several area representatives and touring the Pennsylvania College of Technology's Earth Science Center, just south of Williamsport in Montgomery, Governor Tom Corbett launched his state energy plan "Energy = Jobs". "Energy = Jobs" is a plan that seeks to utilize all of Pennsylvania's energy resources, which include natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar and other renewables.

"The expansion of our energy sector has made Pennsylvanians better off and made our Commonwealth really the vanguard of American energy independence," he said. "We are truly blessed to have the second-largest energy field in the world."

Corbett's plan utilizes several core concepts, which include abundant, affordable and domestic energy, enhancing the environment, embracing free markets and security lead by energy independence.

"I've said it many times; energy equals jobs," Corbett said. "Energy equals jobs in our gas and coal fields, and it also equals jobs in our nuclear reactors and the enterprises that they power, and in our growing renewables sectors, which strengthen and diversify our portfolio of resources across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Corbett praised Penn College's training center as a key resource in growing energy production in the state.

"The reason we're here is because this is a place where the energy leaders of tomorrow are learning the initiatives and technologies that are going to drive that production of energy here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania," he said. "They are preparing for the jobs that will be globally competitive jobs for the 21st century economy."

Following the presentation, Penn College President Jane Gilmour offered a statement regarding Corbett's visit to the college.

We were delighted the governor chose Pennsylvania College of Technology as the site to announce his 'Energy = Jobs' resource guide," she said. "Our hands-on, applied-technology approach to training for careers in fields like natural gas, on-site power generation, renewable energy technologies, building science and sustainable design, building automation technology, diesel technology, electronics, mechatronics and many others produces graduates who are workforce-ready from the first day on the job.

"The students the governor met during his visit to our Earth Science Center represent the workforce of tomorrow," Gilmour continued. "Many of them will remain in Pennsylvania and apply the valuable skills they've learned at Penn College when they go to work for companies throughout the Commonwealth."

Prior to the presentation, Corbett briefly toured the college's Earth Science Center, which is home to one of three drilling-rig trainers in the country. During the tour, Corbett was able see recent ShaleNET graduates demonstrate the hands-on instruction that Penn College provides in how to safely drill a natural gas well, using the same pieces of equipment used by the gas industry on an actual drill site. Additionally, the tour included two live-fire demonstrations showing how the center is used to train emergency responders in properly responding to potential emergencies in the field.

Also present during the event was Senator Gene Yaw, who provided a statement following the presentation.

"Pennsylvania is a leader in energy development and will continue to position the United States to be more energy independent due to the Commonwealth's abundant sources of coal, natural gas, oil, wind and solar opportunities," he said. "Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a diverse portfolio of energy opportunities and we need to continue to develop our markets within Pennsylvania to maximize those opportunities afforded to us by our resources."

Also providing a statement after the presentation was Paul Hartman, northeast director of ANGA (America's Natural Gas Alliance).

"We look forward to working with Governor Corbett on implementation of his energy plan," he said. "The plan clearly recognizes the important role natural gas plays in manufacturing, transportation and power generation.

"Pennsylvania is the fastest-growing natural gas-producing state," Hartman continued. "This prolific production and supply base is providing a host of economic, environmental and energy security benefits and we are pleased to see that Governor Corbett has proposed a forward-looking energy policy that paves the way for the growing utilization of this clean, abundant and American natural gas resource."

Corbett added that he believed Pennsylvania was entering a new time across its energy sector.

"We are really entering a new era of experience," he said. "A prosperous era I believe and a hopeful era. An era of endless possibilities for the development of energy in this state."

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 265-1639; email; jwilliams@northeastdriller.com.