Grant Money Helps Laid-Off Miners Get Back on Track

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va, (WSAZ) -- For Chris Armstrong, life in the mines wasn't a steady one.

"The coal business isn't the best it's ever been in a really long time," he said.

Armstrong was forced to start over after being laid off from Progress Mine in Boone County. It's a burden shared by thousands of other miners across the state.

"I was going everywhere trying to find places that would hire me," he said.

Those days are now over. Armstrong found steady employment as a maintenance vehicle driver and technician for the City of Charleston.

The training was paid for by a federal grant distributed through WorkForce West Virginia.

"There is a lot of hope," deputy executive director Valerie Comer said. "This agency tries to put people back to work, build up their self-esteem and let them know there are other opportunities out there."

The grant gives each person $5,000 to get hands-on training in a career of their choice. WorkForce West Virginia recommends high-demand jobs like truck driving, welding and healthcare.

Before, the money was only available to miners involved in mass layoffs. Now, those restrictions are gone.

Job training money is also available for their spouses and children too.

"I learn something every day that betters me in my life, and I love it," Armstrong said.

To find out how you can apply, you can visit your local WorkForce West Virginia office or call 1-800-252-JOBS.

An information session will be held Tuesday, November 5 at the following location:

Summersville City Hall
400 North Broad Street, Summersville WV
9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1p.m-4 p.m.

WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
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