The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 9, 2013

'Workable' solution

Programs provided by community colleges come to aid of laid-off miners

— There are few things more frustrating than being a highly skilled, employable citizen, yet unable to secure a stable job.

But for many miners in our area, that’s the harsh reality.

Especially with the downturn of coal which not only threatens mining jobs, but has eliminated them in many cases.

But some former miners aren’t taking the economic news lying down.

Many are re-establishing themselves in other vocations.

And thanks to re-training programs offered by area community colleges, they’re receiving help in doing so.

They’re busy preparing themselves in fields that are in high demand.

Representatives from UMWA Career Center and Bridgemont Community and Technical College were even helping interested citizens in filling out an enrollment application for their programs this week.

New River Community and Technical College is also offering programs of interest.

“A coal miner is resourceful,” Brett Dillon, director of the UMWA Career Center, told a Register-Herald reporter. “The older ones think it’s all they can do, but if you sit down and talk to them, you’ll be amazed what kind of transferable skills they have.”

There is no question that miners are people of great resolve. That’s why we feel that they’ll be very successful in their transition.

With an estimated 3,000 miners laid off in the past 12 months, these programs are of vital importance.

Our state’s — even our nation’s economies are changing.

Community colleges have always been able to adapt to the needs of their respective areas.

That’s what is going on here.

Miners who were laid off after March 1, 2012, and received a Worker Adjustment and Retrainment Notification (WARN) are eligible. Spouses and adult dependents of miners may also apply.

We applaud the institutions that have responded to the needs of our citizens with “workable” solutions.