State senators John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon/Monroe) and John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) partnered with the Marcellus Shale Coalition to host over 150 local leaders in business, energy and education at a forum highlighting the business and job growth potential of the Marcellus Shale industry in northeastern Pennsylvania.

"Very seldom, perhaps once in a generation, does an opportunity come along that can lift communities out from under the cloud of persistent economic hardship, and Marcellus shale presents that opportunity for NEPA," Yudichak said. "This forum was a great opportunity to discuss how NEPA can leverage the transformational economic opportunity presented by Marcellus shale into the creation of new jobs, new businesses and sustainable economic growth that will finally break the cycle of our region's chronically high unemployment."

The Marcellus Shale: Business and Job Growth Seminar, held at the Best Western East Mountain Inn & Suites in Wilkes-Barre, featured numerous presentations on all aspects of the drilling industry and how local businesses can grow along with the drilling industry to spur job growth and economic development.

"It is all about connections connecting our established local businesses with the growing Marcellus shale industry," Blake said. "There are countless opportunities to stimulate our economy through Marcellus shale and our goal with today's seminar was to bring the industry and local business leaders together to facilitate those connections and begin the discussion on not only creating jobs but careers for NEPA families."

The forum included presentations by John Augustine, NEPA Community Outreach Manager for the Marcellus Shale Coalition; Matt Henderson, Shale Gas Asset Manager for the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research; Chris Staffel, public outreach coordinator for Williams; Cherie Gudz, Senior Vice President of Microbac Laboratories; and Dave Webber, international representative for the Laborers' International Union of North America.