News • June 9, 2022

Chesapeake and Lackawanna College Partner for the Next Generation of Oil & Gas Employees 

Ashley Knox was initially drawn to the natural gas industry because of her family. After she was sidelined by a college soccer injury, she moved home and explored careers in and around her community. This interest drew her to Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which boasts a series of associate degree and certification programs to train students in petroleum and natural gas business administration, mechanics and technical work.

“At Lackawanna College, I was taught techniques that transition well to our industry and my classes prepared me for what it was going to be like to work in the field,” said Knox.

Plus, Lackawanna College introduced Knox to Chesapeake. She accepted an internship at Chesapeake and, after graduation, joined the company as a lease operator. She now serves in a leadership role, as an optimization foreman.

Chesapeake has a comprehensive partnership with Lackawanna College, recognizing the school as an important pipeline for the next generation of oil and gas workforce. The company participates in the college’s summer intern program, hosting interns each summer to give them hands-on experience, and donates out-of-service equipment for students to have controlled practice with tools and machines that they will encounter in the field.

Most recently, Chesapeake contributed to the School of Petroleum and Natural Gas’ new building — sponsoring the reception area as one of the school’s largest donors. Josh Lawrence, Operations Manager based in our Sayre, PA office, presented the donation to school officials.

“We’re experiencing a demand for quality employees to fill our open field positions and Lackawanna College continues to grow to help meet this demand,” said Lawrence. “Lackawanna graduates enter our workforce better prepared to start in the field and meet our high operational and safety standards.”

When joining the Chesapeake team, Lackawanna graduates are considered short service employees (SSE) or employees with less than six months’ experience in the field. Despite their specialized training, Lackawanna alumni still participate in Chesapeake’s SSE program which includes increased supervision and mentoring to best prepare employees for their new roles. Encouraging extensive hands-on experience and thorough understanding of safety procedures are critical goals of our SSE program.

Of course, the ultimate objective for our SSE program is setting the foundation for long-term career growth. Knox is looking forward to celebrating her 10th anniversary with Chesapeake next year. In addition to her hard work in the field, she has also returned to the classroom as an adjunct instructor at Lackawanna College.

“I think there’s just something unique about Lackawanna students,” said Knox. “They’re not going to leave this area — they’re committed to staying near their families — and we can really cater the curriculum to what’s happening in the industry here. That means a focus on natural gas and Pennsylvania field experience.”

“Thanks to donors like Chesapeake, Lackawanna offers students the space and training to work through real field equipment. It’s rewarding to know that the students are receiving technical knowledge that they’ll be able to apply directly to their careers,” said Ashley Knox, Optimization Foreman.


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