Pictured is Corey Conley, who lost his job repairing coal mining equipment due to the downturn in the industry. After working with BSACAP, Conley became a trained CNC machinist and is teaching others his trade at the new eKAMI school in Paintsville.

Corey Conley, a resident of Paintsville, performed equipment repair for mining operations in the area and his work was based out of Huntington, WV. In July of 2016, Conley was laid off from his job due to the downturn in the coal industry. “Your life changes dramatically when you’re laid off. All of a sudden you have to worry about providing for your family where everything was taken care of before,” he said.

As a dislocated worker, Conley was eligible to take part in the Community Impact Grant administered through Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program and Big Sandy Area Community Action Program. The Community Impact Grant is a National Emergency Grant. It provides funds to assist individuals who served in ancillary positions to the coal industry to receive education and training that will help them to transition into new work.

Conley said that he had always been mechanically inclined and felt that becoming a machinist would be a great new path for him. With the assistance of BSACAP’s Career Advisor Sandy Grimm, Conley prepared to attend the CNC Machinist School in Indiana. The training required for his certification meant that he spent nearly four months away from home, but it gave him a great opportunity to meet new people and study with really good instructors. Conley said that working with Grimm was great. “Sandy was awesome. She told me up front that it was going to be hard, but she made sure that I had everything that I needed for school and she called to check in and make sure that everything was going well,” he said.

After receiving his certification, Conley became an instructor at the East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) in his hometown of Paintsville and began teaching classes.

EKAMI opened in February and will offer 16-week training courses in fields related to advanced manufacturing including machine building and tool maintenance required for both the general private sector and the aerospace industry.

After spending eight years driving to Huntington for work every day, Conley is excited to have steady work closer to home.

BSACAP’s Community Action Career Services are made available to jobseekers and employers through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA).