Archive for the ‘WIOA’ tag

Miner turns barber after layoff with help from BSACAP   no comments

Posted at 9:26 am in News
Michael Lowe was laid off from his work as a coal miner but is now working as a barber at Goodfellas Barbershop on Division Street in Pikeville after taking advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the Hiring Our Miners Everyday Program and Big Sandy Area Community Action Program.

Michael Lowe was laid off from his work as a coal miner but is now working as a barber at Goodfellas Barbershop on Division Street in Pikeville after taking advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the Hiring Our Miners Everyday Program and Big Sandy Area Community Action Program.

After 17 years of working as a dozer operator for a surface mining company, Michael Lowe, like so many others in the region, was laid off from work and had to find a way to begin again.

“Mining is pretty much all I’ve ever done,” Lowe said. “But with the decline in the coal industry, I decided it was time to make a change. And I’ve always been interested in barbering.”

Lowe connected with Big Sandy Area Community Action Program Career Advisor Reva Kidd at the Office of Employment and Training in Prestonsburg. Kidd informed Lowe that as a laid-off coal miner, he was eligible to participate in the Hiring Our Miners Everyday Program (HOME).

The HOME program created by Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment and administered with the assistance of Big Sandy Area Community Action Program, assists former coal industry workers and their spouses to receive educational and workforce opportunities which can help them transition to new work.

Lowe, who has had a passion for barbering since he was a child, jumped at the chance to learn a new trade with the help of the HOME program. Lowe enrolled in classes at Ashland Community and Technical College and was on his way to a new trade.

While enrolled in classes, the HOME program helped Lowe pay for tuition costs and his barbering tool kit in addition to helping him stay enrolled with a monthly stipend to help pay for his travel costs to and from school. When his classes were finished, Lowe was even reimbursed for the fee required to take the Kentucky Barber Board test.

Lowe said that although transitioning to new work was time consuming, working with BSACAP Career Advisor Reva Kidd made it easier. “Once I got in school and the process was started, it just went along smoothly. Reva helped me so much and the program was really good,” Lowe said.

Lowe was even fortunate enough to find a job waiting for him after completing the program. Tommy Smith, owner of Good Fellas Barber Shop in Pikeville, called Ashland Community and Technical College looking to hire a graduate. He was connected with Lowe and the two are working in what they call “the best barber shop in eastern Kentucky.”

Lowe said he is enjoying his new work and fulfilling a childhood passion. “I like making people feel good about themselves, and it’s an honor to serve our customers,” he said.

Lowe offered encouragement to fellow former miners as well. “There are other things out there. There are programs and help available for miners. It is possible to get new work. Don’t get discouraged, just keep pushing forward in life.”

 Hiring Our Miners Everyday assists laid-off coal industry workers and their spouses 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.

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.

Written by Sarah Hill on August 19th, 2016

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Local miners’ work ethic valued across state   no comments

Posted at 9:23 am in News
Job seekers were able to fill out their electronic application and have a same day job interview with Rogers Group at a recent job fair held at the Pike County Public Library hosted by Big Sandy Area Community Action Program and Kentucky Career Center.

Job seekers were able to fill out their electronic application and have a same day job interview with Rogers Group at a recent job fair held at the Pike County Public Library hosted by Big Sandy Area Community Action Program and Kentucky Career Center.

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.

Written by Sarah Hill on August 19th, 2016

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Help is out there for former coal industry workers through Hiring Our Miners Everyday   no comments

Posted at 8:42 am in News
Greg Castle of Staffordsville, left, shakes hands with Dr. Devin Stephenson of Big Sandy Community and Technical College upon receiving his electrical degree. Castle graduated in May with the help of the Hiring Our Miners Everyday program after being laid off from the coal industry.

Greg Castle of Staffordsville, left, shakes hands with Dr. Devin Stephenson of Big Sandy Community and Technical College upon receiving his electrical degree. Castle graduated in May with the help of the Hiring Our Miners Everyday program after being laid off from the coal industry.

No matter one’s opinion on the coal industry in eastern Kentucky, the fact remains that more and more coal jobs are being lost and more and more people have to find a way to keep their families and themselves going.

Greg Castle, of Staffordsville, found himself in just such a position. After working for seven years as a coal truck driver, Castle was laid off in October of 2013. He said his company used to run 60 or more coal trucks at one time, but the numbers steadily dwindled over the years. “Within them last two years, we were laid off a couple of times. And this time, it was the end of it. We were the last 12 to get laid off,” he said.

The financial strain of moving from among the best paying jobs in the region to unemployment benefits took its toll on Castle, who is a husband and a father to three children. “It was real tough not to purchase shoes and stuff like you usually do for your kids. You have to look at them with little raggedy shoes for a while. It didn’t hurt them, but as a parent you want to give them the best and it’s hard to do that when you’re not making it.”

Castle said he knew that he had to find another job and began his search with the Office of Employment and Training. While there, he was connected with Big Sandy Area Community Action Program Career Advisors Sandy Grimm and Anita Lykins, who told him about the opportunities available through Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program’s Hiring Our Miners Everday (HOME) program.

The HOME program assists former coal industry workers and their spouses to receive educational and workforce opportunities which can help them transition to new work.

“Sandy Grimm came in to talk to us and the next thing you know I’m taking tests the same day. I was enrolled in school within a week,” Castle explained. With the assistance of WIOA and the HOME Program, Castle began to pursue an electrical degree through Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

He said that the idea of returning to school after many years in the workforce was “terrifying,” but that he wanted something more for himself and his family. “I also wanted to show my kids because they had been telling me that they couldn’t go to school. I wanted to show them it’s possible,” Castle said.

Through HOME, Castle was able to attend school, receive help with getting the books and supplies he needed to earn his degree, and keep his unemployment benefits. Once his unemployment benefits were exhausted, he was able to receive monthly needs-based payment assistance while he was in school.

After two years at BSCTC, Castle finished his electrical degree and graduated in May with academic honors, military honors, Pi Theta Kappa National Honor Society honors, and Skills USA honors.

Castle said, “All the instructors at [BSCTC] were good to me. They helped me at every turn.” In addition to his electrical degree, Castle has signed up for the last two classes he needs to finish out his industrial maintenance degree, a decision that has helped him land a job in Skills Maintenance at Toyota, where he will begin in July.

Castle credits his forward momentum to the help he received through the HOME program. “I think it’s an excellent program. Without them, it would have been a nightmare. It was tough already, but without the HOME Program, I don’t know how I would have done it. I’d advise anybody that is having trouble in the coal business here to ask for help through the HOME program and hold on and don’t quit.”

The future is looking brighter for Castle, who said, “I’m looking forward to going to work. My goal is to come back and teach someday, to give back to what has been given to me.”

Hiring Our Miners Everyday assists laid-off coal industry workers and their spouses 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.

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 (606) 789-3641.

Written by Sarah Hill on June 22nd, 2016

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Layoff gives miner chance to finish what he started through Hiring Our Miners Everyday   no comments

Posted at 8:38 am in News
Michael Preston of Stanville, left, stands with fellow Hiring Our Miners Everyday participant Greg Castle and Dr. Devin Stephenson of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Preston graduated with an electrical degree in May after being laid off from the coal industry.

Michael Preston of Stanville, left, stands with fellow Hiring Our Miners Everyday participant Greg Castle and Dr. Devin Stephenson of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Preston graduated with an electrical degree in May after being laid off from the coal industry.

Michael Preston, of Stanville, started an electrical degree program in 1997, when he was 18-years-old, but dropped out after the coal industry came knocking.

Preston said, “I didn’t take [school] seriously. I was a young kid.” When he found out about opportunities in the coal industry he jumped at the chance to go to work. “I thought if I can make this big money in the coal industry, I don’t need to finish school.”

After working as a driller in the coal industry for 16 years, Preston was laid off from his job in August of 2014.

Preston said that after being laid off, he had to take a look at the different options available to him. “I was a little bit worried at first, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what I needed to do, which was go back to school,” he said.

Preston started on his path back to school at the Office of Employment and Training in Prestonsburg, where he was able to gather his unemployment benefits and find the resources available to him. He then made the trip to Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) to find out how he could go about getting enrolled.

BSCTC told Preston about the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (HOME) program and connected him with Big Sandy Area Community Action Program (BSACAP) Career Advisors Anita Lykins and Sandy Gimm. The HOME program, created by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), assists former coal industry workers and their spouses to receive educational and workforce opportunities which can help them transition to new work.

Preston said that Lykins and Grimm “took the time to explain what was available to me as a laid-off miner. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to go back to school. They help people more than anything.”

With the assistance of BSACAP and the HOME program, Preston was able to enroll at BSCTC in the same month that he was laid off. Even though the semester had already begun, he was allowed to enroll a week and a half after classes began. While attending classes, Preston was able to receive his unemployment benefits and get assistance with the books and supplies he needed to complete his electrical degree.

Preston said he noticed the differences between his younger classmates and himself. “When you’re younger, you don’t have to do it. But when you’re older, and you have kids and a family, you take it a lot more seriously,” he said. “I wanted to finish what I started and I know there is a demand for the skill set.”

In May of this year, Preston earned his electrical degree at BSCTC, 19 years after he started it.

Now Preston is looking toward the future and searching for a company that will be the right fit for him. “I’m looking forward to finding a company that will let me get my foot in the door, show my experience, and get some more experience. It will take off from there.”

Preston said he hopes that others in the area who find themselves in a similar situation will seek out the HOME program and other services available to them. “It’s a great thing. I wish more people would use that tool to help them better themselves because it’s out there for them.”

Hiring Our Miners Everyday assists laid-off coal industry workers and their spouses 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.

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 (606) 789-3641.

Written by Sarah Hill on June 22nd, 2016

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