Town hall event aims to help former Emerald miners seek new job opportunities

February 25, 2016

A town hall meeting for miners who lost their jobs with the closing of the Alpha Resources Emerald Mine in Waynseburg will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the MTTC/UMWA Career Center in Prosperity.

Bob Wilson, founder of COAL, an acronym for Career Opportunities After Layoffs, and member of United Mine Workers of America Local 2258, will introduce the event. He said the goal is to bring together all people currently laid off from the coal industry to learn about career opportunities. Wilson said the meeting is focused on the 220 miners who lost their jobs when Emerald Mine officially closed in November.

Wilson said the meeting will provide an opportunity to gather information on existing and potential job opportunities and to encourage others to join the COAL committee to establish contact with services, programs and support groups. Representatives from economic and workforce development groups and PA CareerLink will attend.

State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, will be the keynote speaker. Greene County commissioner Blair Zimmerman also will speak, as will Ted Fink, a member of United Mineworkers of America Local 2258.

As of this week, panelists committed to presentations at the event included: Ami Gatts, president of the Washington-Greene County Job Training Agency; Robbie Matesic, executive director of Greene County Economic Development; Don Chappel, executive director of Greene County Industrial Developments Inc.; Kate Shimko, LaborReady Employment Agency; Jessica Hajek-Bates or Darlene Bigler, Community Action Southwest; Cory Grandel, investment advisor, Waddell & Reed; Ray Vargo, University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center; Candace Tustin, executive director, Corner Cupboard Food Bank Inc; Kathy Zarisnak or Jason Fincke, Builders Guild of Western PA; Jeff Imbrescia, president, Douglas Education Center.

The program also seeks to identify industries that may be interested in locating locally that could benefit from the qualifications of the existing workforce. The meeting also hopes to develop a communication network to share information among participants.

The Career Center address is 197 Dunn Station Road, Route 221, Prosperity, next to Greene ARC, a half-mile west of the Ruff Creek Store.

For additional information, contact Bob Wilson at coalminerbob777@gmail.com or 724-833-3108.

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