Governor McAuliffe Announces Nearly $2 Million Grant to Retrain Former Coal Workers
RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) received a $1,965,730 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help provide reemployment services to former coal industry workers who need to access jobs in emerging and growing fields.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “Getting Virginians who are switching careers the training and support they need to get good new jobs is a critical part of keeping our economy strong, particularly in Southwest Virginia. I applaud the public and private partners contributing to the success of this important grant initiative that will help in our efforts to create jobs and build a new Virginia economy.”
The funds will serve approximately 210 workers affected by layoffs from Alpha Natural Resources based in Bristol, Virginia. They will provide affected workers in a number of southwestern Virginia counties with career services and training to prepare them for in-demand jobs associated with advanced manufacturing and the adventure tourism and outdoor recreation industries.
“I congratulate the partners who have committed to working together to support the job training and career development needs of coal miners and their families,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “This grant is especially important for the Southwest Virginia region as it transforms and diversifies its sources of economic growth. Talent is the number one asset to accomplish this transformation, and this grant is an investment in that talent.”
“This grant will allow VCCS to provide individuals in Southwest Virginia with amazing career opportunities,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “Higher education has stepped up to the plate and is providing education and training, delivering specialized labor market research, and building capacity to provide services to the people who need it the most.”
VCCS will lead key project partners including the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Area One, New River/Mount Rogers Local Workforce Development Area Two, Mountain Empire Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College and Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development.
“Often, people who have been laid off are looking for the most efficient way back into the workplace, earning a salary that can support a family. Increasingly, that means our short-term training programs that lead to industry-recognized certifications. Our community colleges are eager to help these people, and grateful for the partners and the resources that will help make that possible,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.
Other partners in the project include Economic Development Districts-the LENOWISCO Planning District, the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and the New River Valley Regional Commission, Wise County Industrial Development Authority, Friends of Southwest Virginia, the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing and The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Funding is provided by the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) National Dislocated Worker Grants, led by the Economic Development Administration (EDA).