Program to help out-of-work miners in Eastern Kentucky gets $7.5 million

bestep@herald-leader.comJune 5, 2014 

An Eastern Kentucky job program will receive access to an additional $7.5 million to help deal with deep layoffs in the coal industry.

The Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, which provides services in 23 counties, announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday. The money will help EKCEP continue its program called Hiring Our Miners Everyday, or H.O.M.E.

Coal companies in Eastern Kentucky have cut more than 7,000 jobs since early 2012, or nearly half the coal jobs in the region.

The H.O.M.E program provides job training and other services to laid-off miners and their spouses. Nearly 2,000 people have enrolled in the initiative; of those, about 900 have gotten new jobs and more than 600 are in job training, according to the employment program.

"This new funding will allow us to continue to meet the workforce needs of our region's unemployed miners in a time of unprecedented need," Jeff Whitehead, head of the program, said in a news release.

Whitehead credited Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell; U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, R-Somerset; and Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, for their support of the H.O.M.E. initiative and the grant from the Obama Administration.

The Department of Labor awarded the employment program $5.2 million last year to help miners. The agency has drawn down $3.7 million of that so far.

The new grant brings the total available to the agency to $11.3 million.

For more information on the initiative, go to or call 1-855-466-3690.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1

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