The Harlan County Economic Development Authority heard from the Center for Rural Development concerning training for displaced miners during a meeting on Monday.
Authority Chairman Pete Cornett introduced Chief Operating Officer of the Center for Rural Development Ron Hart to the panel.
“We have a private grant that we were blessed to receive about a year ago for training displaced miners,” Hart said. “Originally it was just for four counties, but we’ve got that expanded.”
Hart said the program is now available to displaced miners from Harlan, Bell, Clay, Laurel, Leslie, Perry, Knox, Whitley, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Jackson and Owsley counties.
The Displaced Coal Miner’s Training Initiative training is available to those who had at least one year of continuous employment in the coal mining industry within the last five years, have experienced a layoff and are currently unemployed or under-employed.
“It doesn’t cost them a dime,” Hart said.
Hart said the programs available include training in diesel mechanics, electrical, carpentry, welding and other areas.
“Well pay for education in these programs up to about $4,200, which will get them through any of these programs,” Hart said. “If there are special cases, we can certainly look at those as well.”
Hart said there is also a program directed specifically at Harlan, Perry and Knox Counties.
“It has an entrepreneurial twist to it,” Hart said. “In addition to the technical training, if they are thinking about starting a business they will get entrepreneurial training as well.”
An Authority member explained many miners could not afford to go to Somerset, where the Center for Rural Development is located, to receive training.
“We will bring that entrepreneurial training here,” said Hart.
Hart said the entrepreneurial training could be held in any available facility and the technical training may be found at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.
“We can have it (training) at Southeast,” said Hart. “It’s up to them where they would like to go get technical training.”
Hart explained if the desired training isn’t available at SKCTC there is the option of going to another location such as London, Hazard or Somerset that may have the program available.
Cornett suggested on opportunity be set up for displaced miners to speak with representatives of the program.
More information can be found on Displaced Coal Miner Training by calling the Center for Rural Development at 606-677-6000 or online at http://dcmt.centertech.com/
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde