For one group of Eastern Kentuckians, the holiday season and New Year started off with new beginnings as 19 students were recognized during a ceremony on Friday, December 20 for completing the Lineman & Fiber Optics Training course. The classes are offered through the Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) in partnership with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.).
This class was the first time HCTC and EKCEP had held a second cohort for the same semester. Last year’s layoffs at the Blackjewel mining operation, among others, increased the demand and need for more spots in the original Fall 2019 class, opening up the possibility for a second class in the same semester, with the entirety of participants qualifying for assistance through their Kentucky Career Center JobSights and EKCEP.
Graduate Joseph Jones was awarded the Chris Engle Award, which is “awarded to the student that exhibits the characteristics of a true lineman, including drive, determination, awareness of safety, and a genuine concern for fellow students,” HCTC Director of Workforce Solutions Keila Miller said at the ceremony.
Miller said this graduating class of linemen is the fifteenth class to come through since the program’s inception in 2013. Of those previous classes, the program has seen a high success rate for graduation and job placement over the years.
Graduates from the class include:
- Richard Barnard
- Gillis Burns
- Andrew Couch
- Gary Cox
- Brandon Dollarhyde
- Tony Joshua Epling
- Daniel Griffin
- DeShawn Harris
- Brandon Helton
- Jonathan Henderson
- Timothy Hensley
- Kevin Hurt
- James Jackson
- Joseph Jones
- Jacob Melton
- Brent Raleigh
- Johnny Thomas
- David Vaughn
- Joshua Weaver
EKCEP covered tuition and other costs for all of the graduates’ lineman and fiber optic training.
H.O.M.E. is a service of EKCEP in conjunction with the Kentucky Career Center JobSight regional workforce network. EKCEP provides federally funded jobseeker and employer services in 23 counties in the Appalachian Kentucky Coalfields.
H.O.M.E. helps out-of-work miners and their spouses discover their skills, determine new career options, covers costs for them to enter classroom training, and helps place them into subsidized on-the-job training positions with area employers.
The program is also creating partnerships with employers and organizations across Kentucky and other states to help miners find and land jobs that allow them to sustain their standard of living and continue to use their skills.
In these cases, H.O.M.E. can also provide limited relocation assistance to miners who accept out-of-area job opportunities.
The program is funded through a nearly $39 million in National Emergency Grant (NEG) fund from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
To see more photos from the graduation, click here to go to EKCEP's Flickr page for the event.
EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services and operates the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers, which provide access to more than a dozen state and federal programs that offer employment and training assistance for jobseekers and employers all under one roof. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org,http://www.jobsight.organd http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.