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|HCTC offers new coal mining program
Scholarships are available for students wanting to enroll in the newly-approved Mining Technology degree at Hazard Community & Technical College. With more than $1 million in training equipment available for hands-on learning provided through the Kentucky Coal Academy and other donations, students enrolling are expected to receive a top-notch education that will immediately qualify them for a coal industry job. Since many in the coal industry are approaching retirement age, now is the time for someone looking for a career to consider enrolling.
Jesse Campbell, Coordinator of the Kentucky Coal Academy at HCTC, has 27 years of experience. He will be teaching the classes along with John Back, a veteran coal miner himself.
Neil Brashear, Dean of Technology Programs, said he thought the program is especially attractive because it will be offered only three days a week – Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “It’s possible for someone working at another job to get their education too.” Brashear, who developed the new program, noted that the emphasis for training is on electrical and mechanical. “Those are the areas of the greatest demand,” Brashear noted.
Jobs in the mining industry pay in the $50,000 range – just another good reason to enroll. Classes will be open to 18 students ensuring strong personal attention.
Campbell noted that students will have training in electricity, welding, and all the other skills that a worker should know. “Few have all the skills needed but we will be teaching them.” Campbell and Back say the training will be rigorous, intense, focused. “If a student comes to class every day, on time, their chances for getting a good job are outstanding,” Campbell said.
And, as John Back stressed, “We’ve got the goods in terms of state-of-the art training equipment.” He added that scholarships will be awarded to every student who enrolls and each semester, as long as they keep their GPA at 2.5, will be awarded $650 towards tuition.
CONSOL of Kentucky, a coal company in Knott County, supports this new program. Vance Arnold, Training Coordinator with CONSOL, pointed out, “The mining industry is one of the largest employers in the local area and a degree will help turn young inexperienced students into well educated, better equipped miners who will be safer and more productive once they enter the workforce.”
Blue Diamond and Leeco’s Human Resources Director, Danny Sorrells, said he would “most definitely” look at an applicant who had a mining degree from HCTC over someone who applied for a job without experience. Sorrells praised the training equipment and the curriculum offered in the program.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Board of Regents approved at its June 13 meeting this Associate in Applied Science degree in Mining Technology for Hazard Community and Technical College. Options available include Electricians, Supervisor, Mechanics, and Engineering Operations. Classes offered in the first year include: Blueprint Reading, Mining Electricity and lab, Computers, Applied Fluid Power, Welding for Maintenance, Programmable Logic Controllers, Electric Machinery and Controls, Maintaining Industrial Equipment and lab.
Jennifer Chester, Dean of Workforce and Community Development, noted, “We have $125,000 in scholarships for students to enroll in our classes. I hope to see folks sign up for classes that begin in August. Another attractive part is that students can earn electrician/mechanic certificates in two semesters – this fall and spring. Then choose whether to pursue the associate degree.”
“Those who have a degree are the workers more likely to advance at the company, so we encourage those wanting to work in the coal industry to consider HCTC as the first step,” Ms. Chester said.
Anyone wishing to enroll can call Diana Handshoe at (606) 487-3037 or 800-246-7521, ext. 73037 or Carolyn Bush at 487-3156 or Neil Brashear at 487-3303.
HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN SENTENCED IN CHARITABLE GAMING CASE
Middlesboro VFW Post Victimized
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 1, 2008) – A Harlan County woman was sentenced yesterday to a five-year, probated jail term in a case involving theft from a Middlesboro charity.
Julie L. Weedman, 37, of Evarts, was sentenced in Bell Circuit Court. In addition to the probated jail term, Weedman was ordered to pay restitution totaling nearly $49,000.
On June 2, Weedman pleaded guilty to 39 felony counts of diversion of charitable gaming funds, 47 felony forgery counts and 11 misdemeanor diversion counts.
The Department of Charitable Gaming (DCG) arrested Weedman in July 2007 following an investigation. She is former treasurer of the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Lodge 11139 in Middlesboro.
In late 2006, the organization’s president learned that a check had bounced, even though officers believed the auxiliary had thousands of dollars in its accounts. The lodge filed a complaint with DCG. Investigators concluded that the defendant had forged the president’s signature on checks, cashed them and pocketed the money.
Department investigators Michael Doane and Nicole Creech worked with Bell Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Blondell on the case.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, Weedman is directed to repay the VFW post $854 a month for the next 59 months.
“The department is committed to ensuring that gaming operations benefit the charities as intended,” said Commissioner Henry Lackey. “As this case demonstrates, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who seeks to divert funds from those deserving organizations.”
More than 800 charitable organizations sponsor gaming in Kentucky, with gross receipts totaling $527 million. The department is charged with ensuring such gaming complies with state laws. Last year, DCG conducted 161 investigations. The department is part of the Public Protection Cabinet.