Workforce Retraining Initiative-New Start for Dislocated Coal Industry Workers

“The UMWA Career Centers Inc. has received a Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization “POWER” grant through the Appalachia Regional Commission (ARC).”  The POWER grant is a multi-agency initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. The ARC is one participating partner as well as the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and 8 other agencies.  The mission of the POWER Initiative is to …“support efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries, and attracting new sources of investment.”  This opportunity begins the process of repurposing the Ruff Creek facility to prepare dislocated miners and their families to work in the high demand occupations in their area.

The program will train 400 miners over three years in three initial training programs at the Ruff Creek facility.  (CDL, Cybersecurity, and Advanced Manufacturing).  Participants will be determined eligible based on their county of residence.  Eligible counties within Pennsylvania are Greene, Allegheny, Fayette, Westmoreland, Cambria, Somerset, Washington, and Indiana.  Additionally, two counties in West Virginia, Raleigh and Fayette could also participate in this program if they opted to train in the approved programs.

The Commercial Driver’s License will be conducted by PIA Jump Start program.  They will be setting up a satellite office in Ruff Creek to service the majority of individuals from the eight counties in Pennsylvania.  They will bring trucks and equipment, instructors and actually provide the training on the Ruff Creek site on the soon to be constructed driving range.  It is expected to begin the first class of CDL students in September, 2017.

The second training program is Cybersecurity. We are still working out the details for partnering with a training provider. Working with the economic development agencies, it is anticipated that service being available at Ruff Creek in early 2018.

 The final training program in the initial pilot program is Advanced Manufacturing with a training provider to be determined. The partner will set up a satellite center at Ruff Creek and utilize the soon to be renovated simulated coal mine for the advanced manufacturing training program. It is anticipated to start in the Fall of 2018.

 The UMWA Career Centers Inc., POWER grant began February 1, 2017 and will end January 31, 2020. The schools will all run their own financial aid offices and handle all curriculum and licensing.