Washington Greene County Job Training Agency, Inc. Receives Grant to Train Dislocated Coal Miners from Appalachian Regional Commission

 Washington, PA, January 31, 2017 – The Washington Greene County Job Training Agency, Inc. (WGCJTA, Inc.) has been awarded a $653,400 grant award from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).  This grant will fund the Transitioning from Black to Blue: Training Former Coal Workers for Natural Gas Utility and Pipeline Careers in Appalachia.  The program will be created and implemented in conjunction with Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a leading research, development and training organization that has been the natural gas education leader for 75 years.

The ARC award will provide a targeted retraining program for displaced coal workers that enables them to pursue local employment in the natural gas utility and pipeline industry. The training courses will be offered at three regional education institutions – Butler County Community College, Westmoreland County Community College, and Washington State Community College (Marietta, OH). The curriculum developed by GTI ensures that participants’ knowledge and skill development is industry-standard and best positions them to find stable employment in an expedited manner. The project will primarily serve a 23-county area in southeast Ohio and southwest Pennsylvania, and will train100 individuals.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our Workforce Development Area and surrounding region to offer high-quality training to dislocated coal miners in order to transition from the mines to the natural gas industry,” said Ami Gatts, President/CFO of WGCJTA, Inc.  “With many of our local miners looking for training and employment, I feel this program can provide that opportunity.”

“This program will enhance the regional jobs picture by providing targeted training that will meet the workforce needs of the utility and pipeline industry while providing the students with tangible skills that are in high demand,” said Patrick Findle, Senior Program Manager at GTI. “The long-term strategy is to extend the program in both the number of students trained and areas served.”

“Assisting our coal-impacted communities presents significant opportunities for community revitalization and economic advancement,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “The Wolf Administration appreciates the Appalachian Regional Commission’s support of these efforts in Pennsylvania. We anticipate continued progress as the recently awarded POWER grants are implemented and applaud WGCJTA for its efforts.”

Program development will begin in March and training is anticipated to begin in Summer/Fall 2017.  Program updates and information can be found at www.washingtongreene.org or by contacting Patrick Findle, Program Manager at [email protected]; 412-577-8350.


L&I Awarded $2 Million for Reemployment Assistance Program

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced today that the department was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) National Dislocated Worker Grant. The grant will go towards reemployment assistance for about 1,100 workers impacted by layoffs attributed to the downturn of the coal industry in southwestern Pennsylvania.

L&I will disperse this grant to the Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board (WDB), the Westmoreland Fayette WDB, and the Southern Alleghenies WDB, which will, in turn, disburse the funds to reemployment programs for affected dislocated workers.

“The coal industry is an important part of Pennsylvania’s economy, and when there is a downturn we must assist workers in their effort to gain employment,” said Governor Wolf. “My administration is committed to helping Pennsylvanians who face challenging times. These grants will help workers develop individual employment plans that will help to keep them in the workforce.”

“I am delighted to be announcing L&I’s receipt of this grant, today,” said L&I Secretary Kathy Manderino. “The coal industry employs a lot of hard-working Pennsylvanians, and in this unfortunate case where some of its employees are laid off due to a market slowdown, it is important to the governor, myself, and the entire southwest region that these workers re-attain productive, gainful employment as quickly as possible.

Individual employment plans will be developed for regional dislocated coal workers who fit grant requirements. Depending on the recipient, this plan could include immediate reemployment in a similar position or training for a different, high-quality position. New industries absorbing employees will likely include energy, transportation, and manufacturing.

L&I’s regional Rapid Response Teams will also play a major role in making sure all dislocated workers are aware of the training and reemployment options available to them through this grant.

The USDOL National Emergency Grants (NEGs), which encompasses this National Dislocated Worker Grant, temporarily expand the service capacity of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and local workforce development boards at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. NEGs generally provide resources to states and local workforce development boards to quickly reemploy laid-off workers by offering training to increase occupational skills.

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