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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance (GMS) held a job fair at the Lee Avenue branch of the Pike County Library on Wednesday, March 30 with the goal of finding several inexperienced “green hat” miners in Eastern Kentucky and have them trained by Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.
GMS officials said a coal industry boom is taking place, causing more mines to open up across the area.
“Now, it’s starting to slowly pick up,” said GMS Southern Appalachian HR Recruiter, Corey Toler. “There are new mines opening seems like every other week, so they’re bringing back hundreds of jobs.”
Because of the resurgence of the coal industry in Eastern Kentucky and nearby Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, companies are looking for the next generation of miners.
“The labor market is demanding workers,” said Southern West Virginia Career and Technical College Operations Coordinator Thomas Dotson. “So. we’re here to help fill those gaps, get miners trained, and hopefully get them some good-paying jobs so they can help support their families.”
The boom will help strengthen the local economy across the region and help those looking for work put food on the table.
“I could finally take care of my family, make enough to pay bills, and not have to live week to week or payday to payday anymore,” said Cory McConnell, a job fair attendee, and prospective green hat.
These new opportunities will also help preserve the history and heritage of coal mining in Appalachia. Bringing back locals whose families have a long history of working in the mines.
“They just want to follow in those footsteps and learn, but they don’t have a chance to get their foot in the door,” said Toler. “Now, they’re actually getting those opportunities.”
Toler said GMS will have another job fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Richlands, Va. on Thursday, April 7.
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