MADISON, W.Va. — WorkForce West Virginia is trying to help southern West Virginia coal miners who have lost their jobs. Miners learned about retraining opportunities Tuesday in Madison.

This federally funded program provides dislocated miners with various resources that they need to re-enter the work force. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $7.4 million o the state in order to help them find a new stable source of income.

Amber Jackson, WorkForce West Virginia employment programs specialist, said the program is there to help battle the intimidation that comes with looking for a new job.

“They’re acting as case managers, helping these people make decisions on what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Kind of giving them some direction on what training is available that’s going to meet the needs of in-demand jobs that are in West Virginia at this point. What we’re seeing is a response in a positive aspect, they’re eager to get some additional training to be able to obtain a job,” Jackson said.

Some of the retraining programs build on skills that mine workers, such as an electrician, may already have, thus making the transition a little bit easier.

“This would capitalize on their current skills and provide them with other opportunities, say in the gas industry, the industrial-type industries, that would be able to provide them with substantial income,” Jackson said.

WorkForce West Virginia will hold another meeting July 22 at the Madison Civic Center beginning at 1 p.m.

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