Benefits fair draws more than 100 people

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - More than 100 people came to a Benefits and Job Fair in Harlan County on Wednesday.

EKCEP organized the event to help recently laid off coal miners.

Ron Branson was one person looking for a job.

"Jobs in Harlan County are very limited. They're hard to come by right now," Branson said.

Four months ago, Branson was laid off from his surface miner job.

"It's rough. It made things real rough. You know when you're used to bringing home a certain amount of money a week, and all the sudden you're getting cut down to that much money every two weeks, that makes it real bad," said Branson.

He went to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Benefits Fair in Harlan.

"What we found is a lot of people who have been laid off don't know of the services that are out there, so we pulled everybody together so they can get that under one roof," said Bridget Back with EKCEP.

Dozens of community agencies and organizations offered to help laid off coal miners with job hunting, training, and education.

More than 100 people came to the fair.

"It's been a very good response. I've been amazed we had this many come out," said Anthony Warlick.

There was more than just help job hunting and educational services, people also got help with medical benefits and housing payments.

"This is stuff a lot of these people need, and a lot of people who've worked for years don't know what free services are out there," Back said.

"It's been real beneficial. It's been helpful for me," Branson said.

Branson hopes to get a new job soon.

There is another job fair planned in Prestonsburg at the Mountain Arts Center on August 28th.

One is also being planned for Pikeville in September.

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