EKCEP Assists 19 Eastern Kentucky Graduates from HCTC Lineman & Fiber Optics Program

After two months of extensive training, 29 Eastern Kentuckians were recognized during a ceremony on Friday, November 15 for completing the Lineman & Fiber Optics Training course offered through the Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) in partnership with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.).

Graduate Jimmy Eldridge was awarded the Chris Engle Award, which is “awarded to the student that exhibits the characteristics of a true lineman, including drive, determination, awareness of safety, and a genuine concern for fellow students,” HCTC Director of Workforce Solutions Keila Miller said at the ceremony.

Miller said this graduating class of linemen is the fourteenth class to come through since the program’s inception in 2013. Of those 13 previous classes, more than 300 students had successfully graduated, giving the program a 92 percent success rate.

Larry Knight, one of the instructors for the class, said he was extremely proud of the men sitting in front of him at the celebration, many of whom were affected by the massive layoffs from the Blackjewel mining operation earlier this year.

“Today I see a bunch of linemen instead of a bunch of coal miners who have been done wrong,” he said

Graduates from the class include:

  • Ryan Howard
  • Jeffrey Boggs
  • Timothy Daniels
  • Cameron Davis
  • Kameron Madon
  • Christopher Daniels
  • Joshua Tabor
  • Clarence Reed
  • Chuck Eldridge
  • James Brown
  • James Ward
  • John Simpson
  • Jimmy Eldridge
  • Ryan O’Neal
  • William Wilson
  • Russell Walker
  • Justin Gooden
  • Jonathan Estep
  • Joshua Combs

EKCEP covered tuition and other costs for 19 of the 29 graduates’ lineman and fiber optic training.

H.O.M.E. is a service of EKCEP in conjunction with the Kentucky Career Center JobSight regional workforce network. EKCEP provides federally funded jobseeker and employer services in 23 counties in the Appalachian Kentucky Coalfields.

H.O.M.E. helps out-of-work miners and their spouses discover their skills, determine new career options, covers costs for them to enter classroom training, and helps place them into subsidized on-the-job training positions with area employers.

The program is also creating partnerships with employers and organizations across Kentucky and other states to help miners find and land jobs that allow them to sustain their standard of living and continue to use their skills.

In these cases, H.O.M.E. can also provide limited relocation assistance to miners who accept out-of-area job opportunities.

The program is funded through a nearly $39 million in National Emergency Grant (NEG) fund from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

To see more photos from the graduation, click here to go to EKCEP's Flickr page for the event.

EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services and operates the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers, which provide access to more than a dozen state and federal programs that offer employment and training assistance for jobseekers and employers all under one roof. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org,http://www.jobsight.organd http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.