PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program hosted another open enrollment event in Pikeville on Monday as part of the 'Hiring Our Miners Everyday' initiative. Laid off coal miners who came to the event went through an orientation program and were then paired with an expert career advisor.
Michael Cornett with EKCEP says the program allows participants to, "take steps necessary that are going to ultimately lead to these out of work miners being able to become trained and certified to get new skills that will lead them to the workforce again."
Steven Coleman has been out of work for almost a year is grateful for the skills he will gain through this program, "if we can come here and they'll train us for something, because coal is all i know anymore." Another laid off miner, Joshua Johnson says he has always been a coal miner, "been doing it since high school, so about 6 years....it is all I know."
All of the laid off miners at the event say they are thankful for this program because it will help them stay home in Eastern Kentucky. Coleman has been looking all over for jobs, "I've applied everywhere I can think of. I've even been to Alabama, western Kentucky, Lousiana...trying to find a job."
Cornett says he hopes many of these folks will not be forced to leave the region, "we chose to call out program home, hiring our miners everyday, not just because it is a good acronym but because we truly hope through the services provided, people are going to get the skills they need to transition into new jobs without leaving home."
There is one more open enrollment event set for this year. It will take place on Wednesday in Harlan. Officials say more events like this are being planned for the upcoming year because the need is so great.