In West Virginia’s hollers, deep in Appalachia, jobless coal miners now find a seam of hope.
“I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure what I was going to do,” said James Damron.
A mine laid off James Damron two years ago.
“I did know I didn’t want to go back in the deep mines. “James Damron
Instead, Damron found Coalfield Development…and its incoming CEO, Jacob Israel Hannah.
“Hope is only as good as what It means to put food on the table.”Jacob Israel Hannah- Coalfield Development CEO
The program’s a community-based non-profit, teaching a dozen job skills, and personal ones.
Construction, agriculture, solar installation.
Someone can get paid up to three years to learn all of them.
“We want to make sure that you have all the tools in your toolkit to know when you do interview with an employer here’s the things that you lay out that you’ve learned. “Jacob Israel Hannah- Coalfield Development CEO
It’s working. Training more than 2500 people. Creating 800 new jobs. And 72 new businesses.
A program delivering with roughly twenty-million dollar in federal grants.
“Instead of waiting around for something to happen, we’re trying to generate our own hope.”Jacob Israel Hannah- Coalfield Development CEO
Steven Spry’s a grad.
He’s helping reclaim an abandoned strip mine…turning throwaway land…into lush land
“Now I’ve got a career out of this. I can weld, I can farm, I can run excavators.”Steven Spry
Spry says he can now find a job is absolutely anything.
With the program…James Damron now works only above ground.
“That was a big part of my identity, was being a coal miner and leaving that like I kinda had to find myself again I guess.”James Damron