HAZARD—At a time when employment opportunities seem bleak and the job market in Eastern Kentucky uncertain at best, opportunities to work in the field one has been trained for come few and far between. Miners in Hazard and the surrounding area were given that opportunity last week, though, during a job fair hosted by Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) and the Kentucky Coal Association.
Patriot Coal, one of many companies to that have had to lay off workers in the last few years due to a decline in production and coal market changes, took applications from nearly 170 miners in the area at the Kentucky Career Center JobSight in Hazard on Wednesday for its operations in Western Kentucky.
According to a press release from the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), of which H.O.M.E. is a service, the event marked the fourth H.O.M.E. job fair held with the Kentucky Coal Association. EKCEP helps jobseekers and employers in 23 counties in the Appalachian Kentucky coalfields to find work and workers.
More than 500 miners have applied for jobs with Patriot Coal at those job fairs, and more than 100 miners have already been hired, the press release read. Patriot Coal expected to fill at least 40 positions with applicants from last week’s job fair for experienced underground mining and prep plan positions.
“H.O.M.E. helps out-of-work miners and their spouses discover their skills, determine new career options, covers costs for them to enter classroom training, and helps place them into subsidized on-the-job training positions with area employers,” the press release read. “The program is also creating partnerships with employers and organizations across Kentucky and other states to help miners find and land jobs that allow them to sustain their standard of living and continue to use their skills.”
H.O.M.E.’s next job fair will be on Feb. 26 at the Jobsight, where the R.J. Corman Railroad Group will be accepting applications.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.