UMWA Career Center gets grant for coal miner retraining

UMWA Career Centers Inc., based in Ruff Creek, has received a $1.2 million grant from Appalachian Regional Commission through the federal Power initiative to help retrain displaced coal miners.

The money will be used to deliver workforce training and job-placement services to unemployed coal miners in eight Southwestern Pennsylvania counties and two southern West Virginia counties, according to a release issued Thursday by ARC announcing the funding.

The center will partner with the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, Allegany College of Maryland and Pennsylvania Highlands Community College to design and implement training programs in strategic career sectors, including commercial trucking, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.

Training will be complemented by job placement and other wrap-around support to ensure each trainee has maximum potential for securing employment, ARC said. The project will serve 400 trainees over the life of the award.

Center Executive Director Clemmy Allen could not be reached Friday for comment.

A $653,400 grant also was awarded by ARC to Washington Greene County Job Training Agency Inc. in Washington for the “Transitioning from Black to Blue: Training Former Coal Workers for Natural Gas Utility and Pipeline Careers in Appalachia” project.

The award will fund a retraining program for displaced coal workers that will enable them to pursue local employment in the natural gas utility and pipeline industry. The project will serve about 100 trainees in a 23-county area in southeast Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Power initiative, administered by ARC, is a congressionally funded, multi-agency strategy aimed at bringing federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.

ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on the Appalachian region. Its mission is to innovate, partner and invest to strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.