SIC Offerings Feed Off of Anticipated Oil, Natural Gas Boom

July 31, 2013

After recent state legislation regulating hydraulic fracturing in the state, southern Illinois is preparing for a possible boom in oil and natural gas exploration throughout the region. In responding to industry and workforce needs, Southeastern Illinois College is now offering certificate programs to help prepare prospective new workers, as well as safety training for those currently in the industry and related services.  

Southeastern was granted approval this month from the Illinois Community College Board for two new certificate programs: Oil and Natural Gas Certificate (28 hours), and Oil and Natural Gas Short Certificate (17.5 hours).

"Curriculum for these certificates will cover a wide range of topics, and provide basic skills and knowledge for the safe and efficient operation of equipment in oil and natural gas production facilities and supporting industries," said Karen Weiss, SIC's dean for career and technical education.

Core classes in oil and natural gas topics will debut in the spring 2014 semester, which begins in January. Meanwhile, supporting courses including topics in diesel technology, occupational math, safety training, welding, and basic computer applications, are already available. Completion of the 28-hour certificate will include a full slate of these supporting courses, while the 17.5 hour short certificate will be more concentrated in the core oil and natural gas classes.

Registration is currently open for fall semester courses, which begin Aug. 19. Interested students are advised to contact enrollment services at 618-252-5400, ext. 2441 or 2443, to set up an appointment with an advisor.  

A segment of the certificate programs known as SAFELAND™ training is also being offered on its own to current personnel and employers in the industry. SAFELAND™ training - which ranges from eight to 24 hours, and can be taken at either the Carmi or Harrisburg campuses of SIC - aids in compliance with specific standards applicable to the industry, including safety, ethics, responsibilities for entry-level career, related careers such as first responders, etc. 

The SAFELAND™ classes will also be offered starting in the fall, based on industry need and scheduled when minimum enrollments are met. Those interested in SAFELAND™ training can contact the Workforce and Illinois Small Business Development Center (WISBDC) at 618-252-5001. 

Southeastern's oil and natural gas curriculum and safety training are part of a partnership with Rend Lake College that shares curriculum, instructors, facilities and more between the two institutions in order to reach and serve the population of a wide area expected to be opened up to resource exploration.

"Again, we thank our sister institution at Rend Lake for their cooperation in helping lay these critical pathways for training and development of a local ONG (oil and natural gas) workforce," said Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC president. "The approval from ICCB signals that our commitment to adapting our offerings to the needs of our region remains strong and flexible, meeting the demands of the marketplace."

Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Ill., with an extension center in Carmi, Ill., was founded in 1960 and sustains accountability, ranking sixth in the state for degree and certificate completion.  The college offers nearly 120 certificate and degree programs, as well as specialized training in a multitude of interest areas.  SIC maintains affordability with some of the lowest tuition rates in the state at $91 per credit hour.  Southeastern provides accessibility as the area’s leader in online classes, successful high school dual credit programs, accelerated courses and night classes. 

With approximately 5,000 full or part-time students and nearly 300 employees, SIC is a top employer for the area, and is committed to the economic growth of the communities it serves.  Through community education offerings to all ages, cultural events and commitment to workforce and small business development, SIC endeavors to fulfill its mission to enhance lifelong learning by providing quality educational programs, cultural enrichment opportunities and support for economic development.  For more information, visit or call 618-252-5400.