Due to a national decrease in reliance on the coal mining industry, over 10,000 individuals in Eastern Kentucky were forced to seek different employment opportunities. Luckily, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) was created to help people find work, negating the effects of this decreased coal reliance.
This organization operates the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers, which provides “access to more than a dozen state and federal programs that offer employment and training assistance for jobseekers and employers all under one roof” (www.ekcep.org). This organization works under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). According to Cris, an EKCEP employee, collaboration is the key to building a stronger economy. The EKCEP uses its many programs to help adults looking for work, workers who have lost their jobs, and economically disadvantaged young people. The types of assistance are not limited to improved broadband, they also range from career counseling and job search assistance to paying for tuition and providing on-the job training opportunities. In summary, the EKCEP works to create new job opportunity in Kentucky’s economy to help replace some of the jobs lost due to the ongoing decline in the coal mining industry.
A specific stand-out program run by the EKCEP helps mining employees find new and different job opportunity. H.O.M.E or “Hiring Our Miners Everyday,” received funding from a National Emergency Grant allocated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. This program is geared toward helping workers and their spouses affected by the coal industry downturn find new job opportunities, pay for subsidized on the-job training positions with area employers, and cover costs for classroom training. We believe the EKCEP, and specifically its H.O.M.E. initiative, are models the Iron Range should consider. There is no doubt that the mining industry faces unpredictable boom and bust periods, so programs aimed at connecting community members with employers, and helping these individuals collaborate and succeed in finding alternative job opportunity is a valuable model to imitate.
If this organization’s mission and ideas are of interest, look no further for their contact information:
|| ekcep.org || firstname.lastname@example.org || 606-436-5751 ||