New pipeline to create jobs

Roseanne SuttonSpecial to the J-C

A new pipeline will soon be laid across Osage County and with it, new job opportunities.

An estimated 600 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

The pipeline is a project of Enbridge Inc.

Enbridge Inc., a Canadian corporation which began in 1949, has developed over the decades to become a major participant in the development of North American energy infrastructure. Enbridge operates the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system, located in both Canada and the United States.

Enbridge began discussions with Osage Nation Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle over a year ago to determine how the Osage Nation could work with Enbridge to create jobs for Osage constituents to work on the 150-mile pipeline project in Osage County starting Oct. 1.

These efforts resulted in a meeting organized by Chief Red Eagle’s pipeline consultant, Rod Hartness, and the Osage Nation’s Human Resources Director, Delary Walters. Red Eagle and Assistant Principal Chief Bighorse attended this all-day meeting held April 17 at the Business Development Center in Pawhuska.

This landmark meeting marked the first time that all four unions had gathered to discuss how they could work together to create jobs, which the Enbridge pipeline project will produce.

Jana Scimeca, Human Resources Department Compensation Analyst, and Rod Hartness were able to bring representatives from all four unions together to discuss the project, Walters explained. The Laborers, the Teamsters, the Operators and the Welders Unions were present at the meeting.

“The Tri County Technology Center has been a major force in this initiative,” Walters said. “They offered the Strategy Center for the meetings and training.”

“The purpose of the meeting was to determine the skill set and training need,” she said.

Some of the pre-pipeline work on right-of-ways will begin before Oct. 1, and so every effort is being made to have the workers trained and ready, according to Walters.

One important part of the effort is to get the word out to graduating seniors in Osage County that this opportunity exists. High schools are being notified, printed materials are being distributed and Enbridge is also planning to have community meetings to publicize the project.

The Osage Nation Human Resources staff and the Strategy Center staff are working to develop training classes.

“We made an agreement with Tri County Technology to have them trained as oilers, CDL drivers, welder helpers and laborers.” said Chief Red Eagle.

The chief explained that the unions agreed to waive initial fees to join.

Enbridge is providing some additional incentives as well, said Assistant Principal Chief Scott Bighorse, including providing equipment and training to workers.

As a job incentive, there will be a bus to pick up workers in Bartlesville to take them to the job site, Bighorse said. “The pay begins as soon as they get on the bus to go to the job.”

The project will also be an opportunity to explore careers. Welders helpers will be hired to assist the certified welders on this project.

“If the welders helpers decide to train to be certified welders after the project, then the Welders Union has offered to pay for them to be trained,” said Bighorse.

The training is a $50,000 or more value, according to Walters.

“When this pipeline project ends, Trans Canada will be bringing another pipeline behind it,” said Walters. “If we can train people, they can have an endless career doing this. It is a great opportunity for some of our young people.”

Bighorse said every one of the unions emphasized the need to recruit young people.

The chief’s Senior Staff Adviser Debra Atterberry said, “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for kids who are not college-bound to have a career.”

“And have the training paid for,” Walters added. “Also, there will be training if they want to become journeymen or do construction. This is truly exciting. We can make a difference in people’s lives doing this. This is an opportunity for young people to get a trade.”

There will be an estimated 600 jobs created from the project, according to Walters.

“We’ll get 200 of them and $21 per hour is the starting pay for a laborer,” she said.

Those interested may contact Louise Cheshewalla at the Osage Nation Education Department, Jana Scimeca or Delary Walters in the Osage Nation Human Resources at 918-287-5555.