Hundreds of Tri-State coal miners recently affected by WARN notices, workforce resources available

Hundreds of Tri-State coal miners recently affected by WARN notices, workforce resources available

CALHOUN, Ky. (WFIE) - A WARN notice was issued Tuesday at McLean County’s Pennyrile Energy’s Riveredge coal mine.

This is the third Tri-State mine in a month to announce a closing.

First, Peabody announced the closure at Somerville Central Mine in Gibson County, Indiana. Next, only days later, was Alliance’s Dotiki Mine in Webster County.

Now more than 160 workers are expected to lose their jobs in Calhoun.

Michelle Drake is the employer liaison for the Green River Area Development District and part of her job is rapid response.

She says she has already reached out to the corporate office to get in touch with those miners will soon be looking for other work.

169 employees in total are expected to lose their jobs, according to a 60 day WARN notice given to employees.

It says operations are ceasing after the sale of the mine and other facilities to Alliance Resource Partners.

“I think the best thing for me to tell them is: look at this as an opportunity,” Drake explained, “I know it is very discouraging to hear you’re going to be losing your job, but this is an opportunity for you maybe to do something you wanted to do previously.”

Drake says as of Tuesday afternoon, that WARN notice had not yet been filed with the state but as a precaution, she started the process of trying to get in touch with those possibly affected in an effort to give them a head start on what the next step may include.

“We give them information on how to file for unemployment, information about job opportunities that are available, also give them information on training opportunities.”

These training opportunities may include a college education or job skills in high demand areas.

“What we’re seeing in this area are the definitely healthcare field and even transportation,” Drake told 14 News. “I think most of us know you can look at many job ads and they’re looking for CDL drivers.”

The Kentucky Career Center, with offices in both Owensboro and Madisonville, can help anyone who wants it to find their way back into the workforce.

“As far as looking for jobs, preparing a resume, they can do all of that here,” Drake said.

New numbers are in from Alliance regarding their Dotiki Mine closure in Webster County. We’re learning about 90 employees have moved to Warrior Coal in Madisonville. Around 40 more workers are now at Riverview in Union County.

Coal is a hot topic in both the Kentucky Governor and Senate races. Both Senator Mitch McConnell and his democratic challenger Amy McGrath say they side with coal miners.

McGrath released the following statement in regards to the Pennyrile mine closing in November.

“The announced closing of Pennyrile Energy’s Riveredge mine is yet another example of hard-working Kentuckians being left behind by leaders like Sen. McConnell who have no plan for our miners, and haven’t had a plan for years,” Marine Lt. Col. (ret.) McGrath said. “My heart goes out to these families, who deserve a true voice in Washington, who will let the nation know that our Commonwealth powered this country, and the rest of the country owes it back to us.”

14 News is waiting to hear back from Sen. McConnell.

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