Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Presents Funding for Pike County Mining Initiative

Press Release Date:  Monday, January 23, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Funds to be used by the County Board of Education, Office for Career and Technical Education

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher, along with Department for Workforce Investment Commissioner Laura E. Owens, visited Pikeville today to present a check for $910,153 to the Pike County Board of Education and the Office for Career and Technical Education (OCTE) to support the Pike County Mining Initiative.  This initiative will address the critical need for a trained workforce in the mining industry and will be offered through the Belfry Area Technology Center (ATC), one of the career and technical schools overseen by OCTE.

“Today’s coal industry is not the pick and shovel industry of the past,” said Governor Fletcher. “Today’s industry requires a skilled workforce to utilize the technology that increases productivity. We must remain committed to preparing Kentucky workers for this vital Kentucky industry.” 

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds will be used to assist with operating costs and equipment that will be used by secondary students in the areas of diesel mechanics, electricity, machine tool technology/industrial maintenance and welding.

“I am so proud to work for a governor who is committed to answering the needs of the community’s workforce,” said Commissioner Owens. “That’s just what we are doing with the Pike County Mining Initiative. This initiative not only will prepare individuals to be competitive members of the workforce, but also promote transitional skills into postsecondary training. Without question, this project has come to fruition as a result of partners working together to address this critical issue.”

OCTE’s Executive Director Emil Jezik sees the educational program as a beginning to the ongoing commitment of bringing credentials to students and providing the most qualified workers possible to the coal industry.

“Through a continuing consortium approach in which educators work together with industry representatives, ultimately, we could create a certification which would serve as a common measurement for the industry, illustrating the level of qualification for the workforce,” he said.

Bill May, human resources manager for Central Appalachian Mining, emphasized the opportunities a program like this will produce for the region.

“Once students complete the courses offered in the program, they will have the potential to earn a very good wage while becoming a part of an advanced technological industry that will provide stability for years to come,” he said. “In the wake of accidents that have recently been in the news, I would like to emphasize that the coal industry is safer than it ever has been in the past and is utilizing some of the newest technology available anywhere to assure this.”

“This program will no doubt enhance the lives of many young people and provide a much needed workforce to an industry so vital to our region,” said Frank Welch, Pike County School System superintendent.

"Everyone knows and believes in the value of early childhood development,” said Rep. W. Keith Hall (D-Phelps). “Today’s announcement began an early childhood development program for young people interested in coal mining. As a result of this new program, they will be better educated at a younger age,"

Coal workforce investment is a central initiative within Governor Fletcher's comprehensive energy strategy: Kentucky's Energy - Opportunities for our Future.  (See for a copy of the Governor's Energy strategy).

The Kentucky Education Cabinet coordinates learning programs from P-16, and manages and supports training and employment functions in the Department for Workforce Investment. For more information about our programs, visit or, or call 502-564-6606.