The UMWA Career Centers, Inc. (UMWACC) is a standalone nonprofit 501c3 company which has endured many changes since our inception. The coal industry’s need for services has been representative of the industry: cyclical.
The UMWACC was created in 1996 to identify, recruit, train and place long term dislocated mine workers who, for whatever reason, had failed to rejoin the workforce in living wage jobs. We were successful in obtaining our first funding from the United States Department of Labor through what was then called National Reserve Account (NRA) grants. As the use of coal began to pick up, the needs of the coal industry shifted from assisting dislocated workers to the need for properly trained new inexperienced miners and back to dislocated miners several times over.
The UMWA Career Centers, Inc. rose to meet this need and opened the Mining Technology and Training Center to train new inexperienced miners. In addition to those entering the industry, there was a need for incumbent miner training (those already employed in the industry but needing to upgrade skills). The UMWACC sought funding to construct a state of the art above ground simulated coal mine in Prosperity, PA and constructed simulated above ground mine training in Beckley, WV. The UMWACC obtained funds to train new inexperienced miners, Mine Rescue Team members, Fire Brigades, First Responder, Responsible Person, Mine Foreman/Mine Examiner, Diesel, Advanced Safety Skills and many others.
As the mining industries needs have once again changed, the mine training facility is no longer utilized for only mine training but has since expanded into an adult vocational training facility. The name of the venue is now The Ruff Creek Campus. Currently, there is training for mechatronics offered and plans to have a Commercial Truck Driving License Training Program (CDL) will begin in early 2022. Also plans to have diesel classes and cybersecurity classes are being planned as well.
The UMWA Career Centers, Inc. currently is in a split focus mode in that we are identifying, recruiting, training and placing dislocated coal miners from West Virginia in living wage jobs as well as operating the new adult training center in Prosperity, PA.
Since 1996, through various funding streams, the UMWA Career Centers, Inc. has provided services to those living in rural mining communities of Appalachia. Statistics include recruiting 22,221 individuals, training 17,871 of them, and placing 17,637 individuals in living wage jobs (or increased skills within current jobs).