Oil and gas companies are making their way into eastern Ohio, and shale drilling could refuel the economy.
Executive Director of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority Mike Jacoby said there has already been activity in Cumberland, and it won't be long before operations begin in Muskingum County. When that happens, he said there will be a high demand for skilled workers.
"When these big companies, typically from Texas or Oklahoma, come into the communities to drill the wells, they tend to have a lot of service jobs that are required," said Jacoby. "They may be people working heavy equipment, they may be driving trucks, they may be turning wrenches and working out in the field, they may be engineers - there's all kinds of different jobs."
Some opponents of shale drilling are concerned about the longevity of the economic boost. Jacoby said it's impossible to estimate how long the process will last.
"I've heard some people report that this could be a 20 or 30 year process, but nobody really knows for sure," said Jacoby. "I think we need to be mindful as we go about this. The oil and gas will run out, so the investment we see in the region should be reinvested in education, entrepreneurship and quality of life amenities."
If you're interested in learning more about this growing industry, a utility gas and oil career expo will be held next Tuesday at the Zanesville-Muskingum County Welcome Center.