HAZARD — Nearly 170 miners turned out to apply for jobs at Patriot Coal’s operations in Western Kentucky at the latest job fair hosted by Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) and the Kentucky Coal Association.
Clay Countian Leslie May was one of the miners who attended the event, held Feb. 5 at the Kentucky Career Center JobSight in Hazard.
Unfortunately, May was also one of the thousands of coal miners in Eastern Kentucky who have lost their jobs since 2012.
May said coal mining is not only a job he loves but also a “family tradition” for him. After he heard about the Patriot Coal job fair during a recent visit to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, then again through word of mouth, he decided to give it a try.
“I’d really like to get back into coal at some point,” May said, adding he is hopeful the Feb. 5 job fair is his first step toward returning to the industry.
The event marked the fourth H.O.M.E. job fair held in partnership with the Kentucky Coal Association. Counting this latest event, more than 500 miners have applied for jobs with Patriot Coal at four separate job fairs.
Patriot Coal expects to fill at least 40 positions for experienced underground miners and prep plant workers from this week’s job fair. More than 100 miners have already been hired by the company following the first three job fairs in Hazard, Pikeville, and Harlan.
H.O.M.E. is a service of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) in conjunction with the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network. EKCEP provides federally funded jobseeker and employer services in 23 counties in the Appalachian Kentucky coalfields.
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 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.
In these cases, H.O.M.E. can also provide limited relocation assistance to miners who accept out-of-area job opportunities.
The program is funded through a $5.2 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
H.O.M.E.’s next job fair will be for the R.J. Corman Railroad Group on Feb. 26, also at the Kentucky Career Center JobSight, 412 Roy Campbell Drive, Hazard.
For more information on upcoming H.O.M.E. job fairs, contact EKCEP toll-free at 1-855-HOME-690 (1-855-466-3690). Also visit us online at www.homeeky.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ekcep.