Dozens of jobseekers recently gathered at the Pike County Public Library last week to meet and interview with representatives of Rogers Group Inc., a family-owned construction service with more than 70 branches and 1,800 employees across nine states.
Big Sandy Area Community Action Program (BSACAP) in coordination with Eastern Kentucky Concentration Employment (EKCEP) hosted the Job Fair and worked to connect local people with the employer.
Sandy Grimm, Career Advisor with BSACAP explained that former coal miners in the area have the skills that the limestone company is looking for. “So many of the hard skills our miners have are transferable to the limestone business, and Rogers Group is looking for workers with the soft skills, like dedication and responsibility, to make sure that production actually gets done. They love the integrity of the coal miner,” she said.
Area families who have been hit by the downturn in the coal industry are looking at all of their options and using Job Fairs hosted by BSACAP and EKCEP to connect with employers both near and far. At the Rogers Group Job Fair, applicants were able to fill out their applications and have interviews right away.
Job Fairs are just one way that BSACAP helps eastern Kentucky to get back to work. Coal miners who have been laid off from their local jobs have also connected with the Hiring Our Miners Everyday Program (HOME), which helps miners and their spouses receive the support needed to help them become better qualified for an enhanced range of job prospects. HOME helps people to receive on-the-job training, classroom training, basic academic skills, certification/licensing, skilled apprenticeships, and other services. HOME was created by Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) with a two-year National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The program is open to the residents and employers who meet the grant specifications.
In addition to the HOME program, BSACAP offers employment and training services to Adult and Dislocated Workers through the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. Adult and Dislocated Workers Services uses a variety of resources to help customers identify their interests and abilities, understand the job market, obtain training and develop skills, and advance their careers.
Funding for the Adult and Dislocated Workers Services is made possible by the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act of 2014 and the U.S. Department of Labor through the Department of Training and Re-Employment and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP).
Grimm encourages job seekers to reach out to BSACAP to help them connect with work opportunities and discover ways to become more marketable. “[Employers] need what we have here. When we can connect skilled, hard workers with them, it’s a win-win for everyone,” she said.
Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a vast array of services, such as employment and training assistance, weatherization of homes, and area Head Start programs, in order to assist individuals and families in obtaining self-sufficiency. Through collaborative efforts of community and organizational partnerships, BSACAP seeks to improve the overall quality of life within the Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County communities. To learn more about BSACAP and their programs, visit www.bsacap.org or call the service office in your county.