History is being made in Osage County: Jobs are being created and economic development is on the upswing.

The Osage Nation, Enbridge Pipeline, Pawhuska Business Development Center, and The Strategy Center have joined forces to provide a myriad of training opportunities for pipeline-related jobs.

Enbridge is a Canadian corporation that has become a major contributor to the development of North America’s energy infrastructure and operates the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system in Canada and the U.S. The company is currently involved with the Flanagan South Pipeline Project.

Completion of the Flanagan Project will have a significant impact on Osage County. The nearly 600-mile crude oil pipeline originated in Flanagan, Ill., and will cross Kansas and Oklahoma, ending in Cushing. Construction of the final 150-mile stretch will begin in September and provide more than 200 part-time Osage County jobs. Once the 8-9 month project is completed, the pipeline will be able to transport 600,000 barrels of liquid per day.

"When this pipeline project ends, trained workers will have endless opportunities to expand their careers," said Cindy Helmer, PDBC Coordinator. "Trans Canada is scheduled to bring another pipeline behind the Flanagan project. Although the Osage Nation is sponsoring this training, we wish to emphasize that training applications are available for all interested parties. A third round of classes is being developed for mid- to late July."

Training for these positions began earlier this month and is being coordinated through the Osage Nation.

According to Osage Nation Education Director Ida Doyle, "A variety of job opportunities are available — oilers, welding helpers, operators, CDL drivers, and general laborers."

Cooks and laundry helpers will also be needed. Candidates can attend one or all classes being offered at the PBDC.

Training mimics a typical workday on a pipeline job site. The more training candidates receive, the greater their chances of being hired.

For the first time in history, union representatives from the Laborers, Teamsters, Operators and Welders are working together to create jobs for the Enbridge project.

Last Monday trainees were provided information about the individual union programs which included health benefits and retirement plans as well as their available scholarship programs.

Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle, who has been the driving force behind this program, announced all four unions have agreed to waive their initial fees to join the unions. The Welders Union even offered to sponsor training for welding helpers to be certified once the Flanagan project has been completed.

"Partnering with the PBDC and The Strategy Center is providing an opportunity for young people to explore careers," said Chief Red Eagle.

PBDC held an informal open house May 23 where Enbridge could discuss construction plans and answer questions from the public, particularly for landowners who may be affected for right-of-ways.

"We are extremely pleased to be a part of the exciting opportunities for economic development in Osage County that the collaboration between The Osage Nation, Enbridge Pipeline and The Strategy Center offers," Strategy Center President Larry Thrash said. "It continues to be a source of pride to see all facets of this huge project working together for a singular purpose. Creating jobs and promoting economic growth is one of the core objectives of the Pawhuska Business Development Center and The Strategy Center."

For information on the Flanagan South Pipeline Project, visit www.enbridge.com/flanagansouthpipeline.