The Center for Rural Development is expanding the Displaced Coal Miner Training (DCMT) program to Harlan County and eight additional counties in southern and eastern Kentucky.
The DCMT program, administered by the center, provides free workforce training and re-employment services to displaced coal miners and former coal employees who have been adversely affected by the decline in the coal industry.
The expansion will include new training opportunities in Harlan, Perry, Knox, Whitley, Pulaski, McCreary, Rockcastle, Jackson and Owsley counties. An applicant must have worked in one of these counties to qualify for the training.
“The goal of the program is to provide an all-inclusive training package that will lead displaced coal miners and former coal employees impacted by layoffs and coal mine closures in the region to find gainful employment in other sectors of the economy,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of the center. “The Displaced Coal Miner Training program will help participants find new career paths and long-term re-employment opportunities.”
The center is working with a number of providers to offer classroom training in some of the region’s top in-demand professions. Some of the areas of training include welding, plumbing, computer aided drafting and design, heavy equipment, automotive technology, collision repair, lineman training, CDL program and a career in healthcare as an emergency medical technician (EMT).
“This program is an important first step toward helping displaced coal miners get back on their feet and back to work,” said Lawson. “For years, coal mining has been a way of life in Eastern Kentucky. Things have changed. Workforce training will give them new skills and new opportunities, so they can stay in the region, work, and raise their families.”
Earlier this year, The Center received a $500,000 federal grant to provide displaced coal mining training in Bell, Clay, Laurel and Leslie counties. The program later added non-mining coal employees to the list of prospective applicants. This includes office workers, managers, and support personnel who have worked directly for a coal company in the DCMT service area.
According to the program guidelines, a “displaced coal miner” is defined as someone who has experienced a layoff and who has had continuous employment of at least one year in the coal mine industry within the last five years.
For more information on the Displaced Coal Miner Training program, contact Robyn Phillips at 606-677-6000 or visit [email protected]