Shale industry creates white-collar jobs throughout Pa.

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Pennsylvania is known for its blue-collar workers – manufacturing, utilities, farming and oil refining. Hard workers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. And we are grateful for their sweat and investment in our state in the past and for the future.

The state is a bit less-known for its white-collar industries and technical expertise. But that has changed in the past few years.

With the rise of Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling and production in the Marcellus Shale regions, accompanied by the environmental, pipeline and water infrastructure needed for these operations, white-collar experts are becoming more prevalent throughout Pennsylvania.

And it’s not just in rural, northern and western counties. While the drilling sites are there, much of the preparation and planning work occurs farther away in more populated areas within the offices of engineers, surveyors, scientists and supply chain managers.

Many of those white-collar firms are in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

With the rise of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling, there are significant infrastructure needs and countless new opportunities for enterprising businesses.

The support necessary includes environmental investigations, land surveys, roadway and pipeline construction and water treatment and recycling facilities. With these many needs, white-collar experts are in demand throughout the commonwealth.

RETTEW, an engineering, environmental and surveying firm with offices in Allentown and Schuylkill Haven, has hired numerous people in the past few years who were lured to Pennsylvania because of new natural gas industry career opportunities.

In some cases, Pennsylvania was their home state, but they had not previously been able to find a good employment fit for their technical expertise. In others, their technical expertise was less in demand in other geographic regions, and they looked to Pennsylvania for opportunity.

Knowing that natural gas industry jobs are long-term and able to sustain their families for years to come, these high-level technical workers came to Pennsylvania and found jobs at our growing engineering company.

RETTEW is just one of many businesses that have helped promote the local economy in the Lehigh Valley – many other companies have found success in the thriving natural gas industry and been able to support community endeavors as well as vendors and partner businesses.

As the economy continues to struggle, it’s refreshing that some industries and companies have continued to hire and mentor white-collar workers. Those same companies are providing solid footing for families throughout the metropolitan areas of Pennsylvania, giving back to their communities and supporting local vendors and partner businesses.

Mark Lauriello, Professional Engineer, is president of Rettew Associates Inc. with offices in Allentown. He can be reached at (610) 866-8330.

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