Program to Provide Free MSHA-Approved Training to Local Youth

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Though there has been a lag in the coal market over the past few years, there is a large demand for new workers in the coal mining industry as the existing workforce reaches retirement age. This provides a great opportunity for youth seeking long-term, family-sustaining careers.

The federal government mandates that new miners have specific training in order to work in or around a mine. To ensure that local youth interested in a mining career are equipped with this training, Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus, and the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC), are joining forces to deliver free vocational training and job search assistance.

The New Underground Miner Training Program will help participants develop career-related skills that will make them highly employable within—and even outside of—the coal mining industry. Funded through a Youth Employment & Training Programs grant from the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board, the program is open to WIA-eligible out-of-school youth, ages 18-21, in Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

This free New Underground Miner Training Program will include 32 hours of underground miner training that is approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and 48 hours of emergency medical responder training. The first session of this 10-week (80-hour) program will begin October 8 and run through December. Miner training will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for four weeks, and emergency medical responder training will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the remaining six weeks. Registration is now open and seating is limited.

The underground miner training component will prepare participants to work safely in and around underground mines. The emergency medical responder training will teach those likely to be first on the scene how to respond to a medical emergency at the worksite and help injured individuals until emergency medical professionals arrive.

Youth who complete the program will receive a certificate from Penn State and obtain PA certification as an Emergency Medical Responder. They will also receive one-on-one counseling and job search assistance from PIC.

This collaborative effort will equip local youth with training that will enable them to more easily find high-paying jobs within local mines.

For additional information and to enroll in the class, please contact Amy Caton at 724-437-2590, ext. 323.

PIC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building tomorrow’s workforce in southwestern Pennsylvania. It administers over two dozen programs in three divisions: Early Childhood Development, Education and Workforce Development. PIC’s extensive youth programming connects children, teens and young adults with learning opportunities that will help them become the vibrant workforce of tomorrow.

Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus, is part of an internationally renowned university system and is the only four-year institution of higher education in Fayette County. The school offers an associate of science degree in mining technology that prepares students for supervisory roles in the mining industry. The program is the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania. The school also offers more specialized and shorter courses related to the coal mining industry, including new underground and surface miner training. A variety of credit and non-credit certificates are available to fit the diverse needs of mine workers with different levels of experience.

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