The Center extends re-training for displaced coal miners

Staff Report

SOMERSET – The Center for Rural Development has extended re-training opportunities through its newly launched Displaced Coal Miner Training (DCMT) program to more workers impacted by layoffs and coal mine closures in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

A nonprofit organization based in Somerset, The Center has been awarded a $500,000 grant to provide free workforce training and re-employment services for displaced coal miners and former coal company employees who have been adversely affected by the decline in the coal industry in four Kentucky counties.

The program will now be open to all former coal company employees who have worked for a coal company, regardless of their job title or position in the company, within the service region of Laurel, Clay, Leslie and Bell counties.

“The goal of the Displaced Coal Miner Training program is to provide an all-inclusive training package that will lead these individuals to find gainful employment in other sectors of the economy,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center. “The program will help participants find new career paths and long-term re-employment opportunities.”

The Center is partnering with a number of providers, including Somerset Community College, Southeast Community College and Hazard Community College, to provide classroom occupational skills training in an occupation expected to be in high demand in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In addition, the program will provide assistance with job search activities.

“This program is an important first step toward helping these displaced workers get back on their feet and back to work,” Lawson said. “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.”

The extension opens the program to all qualified applicants who have worked for a coal company in Laurel, Clay, Leslie, and Bell counties and are now considered displaced workers. This includes coal miners, office workers, managers and support personnel, who have worked directly for a coal company.

The program defines a “displaced coal miner” 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, or to apply for the Displaced Coal Miner Training program, contact Robyn Phillips at 606-677-6000 or visit

Staff Report

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