LETCHER Co., Ky. (WYMT) - Back in August of 2012 times got tough for former coal miner Chris Sexton.
Jobs were scarce, so he enrolled in the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program.
When we interviewed Sexton in March of 2013 he said, "This is the way to go for a laid off coal miner who wants to do something different."
Fast forward to more than one year later and Sexton is on a new career path.
He said the job-retraining initiative offered through the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program was the boost he needed.
On Thursday, Sexton and his wife took his message to Washington, D.C. where President Obama said he will not wait for Congress to act.
This is why he signed a federal commitment calling for more skills programs to address long term unemployment.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez took a moment to recognize Sexton.
"Chris, like so many others in Eastern Kentucky, got back on his feet," said Secretary Perez.
Perez also took the time to congratulate Sexton.
"He got paramedic training and now he's driving an ambulance," Perez said. "He's looking forward to becoming a full-time paramedic."
Examples like Sexton's, President Obama said, are the reasons why we must restore opportunity for every American.
"Connecting more ready to work Americans with ready to be filled jobs so that folks who are out of work can apply the skills that they've already got," said President Obama.
Sexton said you cannot be afraid to try something new.
"Even though you've only worked in one profession for several years be optimistic," Sexton said. "Don't just say I want to be a coal miner the rest of my life."
Christ Sexton said he is making the best of these tough economic times.
EKCEP Executive Director Jeff Whitehead also had the opportunity to speak with Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the efforts.