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Just a few short years ago, the oil and gas industry was wringing its collective hands in angst over the profound shortage of workers needed to usher in the shale revolution. New college grads had all but abandoned the oil patch in favor of high tech; middle managers hadn’t returned to the profession after they were burned by the last downturn; and top tier executives were retiring out of the industry and onto the golf course.

Universities responded. Large companies implemented worksite “universities,” and senior managers moved up the ranks. The crisis was largely averted.

In fact, times got so good in the heady days of $100-plus oil that the workforce became in some ways bloated. And in the cyclical industry that is the oil and gas business, prices eventually tanked and companies began to go under – and thousands of workers took home a pink slip. The specter of bankruptcy was claiming more victims than corporations and oil production.