Coal mine layoffs
9:47 am
Fri April 25, 2014

More Federal Dollars Available to Help Laid-Off W.Va. Miners

Miners attend a rapid response meeting to find apply for federal funds in 2013.
Miners attend a rapid response meeting to find apply for federal funds in 2013.
Credit Jessica Lilly

Federal dollars are expected to help miners who have recently lost their jobs.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced WorkForce West Virginia will receive additional supplemental funding for $ 5,639,376 in National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds.

The money is part of the National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds from the U. S. Department of Labor to continue providing services to workers affected by layoffs and mine closures occurring within West Virginia's coal mining industry.

In 2012, an emergency grant for $1.8 million was administered by Workforce West Virginia.  That grant provided up to $5,000  for miners and their family members for classroom occupational skills  training. Unemployed miners have attended rapid response meetings to apply and learn more about opportunity for new trainings. The latest funding is in addition to the money allotted to serve displaced mine workers in 2012.

Earlier this week, Patriot Coal sent out "WARN" notices to employees at two West Virginia coal operations. The notice means that layoffs are likely but not guaranteed. Still, the state has endured a decline in mining jobs.

"Layoffs and mine closures are frustrating for our miners and their families - they depend on their jobs to keep food on the table and a roof overhead," Gov. Tomblin said. "This additional funding, combined with the original grant award, will allow us to provide re-employment services and job training opportunities to 700 mine workers."

"This additional funding extends the grant through December 31, 2016 and will allow continued reemployment and retraining services to coal miners impacted by mass layoffs and mine closures," said Russell L. Fry, acting executive director of WorkForce West Virginia.

National Emergency Grants are part of the Secretary of Labor's discretionary fund.

Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 at 4:10 p.m.:

Workforce West Virginia says dislocated coal miners and their spouses can begin by contacting the United Mine Workers of America Career Center at 304-253-3772 or toll free 877-798-8692 for more information.