Colleges plan training for gas drilling jobs

HARRISBURG — Two colleges in southern Illinois have announced a cooperative agreement to provide training in the emerging field of high-volume oil and gas drilling.

Officials from Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg and Rend Lake College in Ina announced the plan Monday after Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new law establishing rules companies must follow during hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

Both colleges plan to provide a safety program and other training needed by the industry. Southeastern Illinois College has submitted a custom training certificate program to the state for approval. Rend Lake College plans to establish an associate degree program in oil and natural gas.

Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack underground rock formations and release oil and natural gas.