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Supplying the Next Generation of Petroleum Professionals

Christine Hansen, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Post Office Box 53127, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3127, phone: 405/525-3556, ext. 200, fax: 405/525-3592, [email protected]

Instability in the energy industry of the 1970's and 1980's resulted in a major shift in professional personnel. The domestic industry lost more than a half million jobs in the mid-1980's. This volatility poses a special challenge to maintaining a stable workforce.

Following the price collapse of the mid-1980's, dramatic changes in employment demographics emerged. Many of those hired between 1974 and 1983, lost their jobs by the late-1980s. Many of those who retained their jobs comprise the current employment base and are now approaching retirement. Declines in undergraduate and graduate enrollments have weakened many major educational programs. Though technology has allowed the energy industry to reduce technical manpower requirements, these improvements in efficiency will not be sufficient to offset impending manpower losses over the next 7-10 years.

A major factor affecting the quality of any solution is the relationship between the key players in our energy future. The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) recognizes the lack of a cooperative effort to address the manpower issue. The Petroleum Professionals Blue Ribbon Task Force, an effort of the IOGCC, has recently concluded that the solution to the need for petroleum professionals requires a national effort focused on three areas:

• State Government educating the public; • Federal Government funding research and outreach; and • Industry for “on-the-ground focus and involvement.

The Task Force developed individual “templates” outlining the actions recommended for each of these three areas.