UMWA Career Centers Receives $750,000 in Foundation Funding to Train Dislocated Miners


OCTOBER 20, 2023


UMWA Career Centers Receives $750,000 in Foundation Funding to Train Dislocated Miners

[RUFF CREEK, PA.] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced today that the UMWA Career Centers, Inc. (UMWACC), has received commitments from several foundations that will unlock a federal Build Back Better grant enabling the UMWACC to recruit and train more than 500 dislocated miners and others in southwestern Pennsylvania for jobs in the robotics industry.

“This is a critical first step in rebuilding coalfield communities by providing training for those who have been impacted by the closure of coal mines,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “This training can provide a pathway to high-quality jobs and a career in a new and growing industry, and can replace the income and benefits miners and their families lost over the last several years when their mines closed.

“This would not have happened without the active support of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm,” Roberts said. “She committed to working with us to help provide resources for the UMWACC facility in Ruff Creek and never wavered in that commitment. I also want to thank Assistant to the President John Podesta, who worked tirelessly to get this over the finish line.

“We appreciate very much the commitments made by the Heinz Endowments, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Just Transition Fund and the Climate Jobs National Resource Center to provide $750,000 in matching funds to the UMWACC,” Roberts said. “These matching funds unlock $2.9 million in federal funding over the next three years for this training, and it could not come at a more critical time.  

“I also want to thank Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) for his commitment to the UMWACC,” Roberts said. “He has worked for years to ensure that the Career Centers continues to be the premier training center for dislocated miners and their families in the United States.”

“There remains an incredible amount of work to do to meet the need for good-paying union jobs for those who have been and will be impacted by the ongoing energy transition,” Roberts said. “We appreciate all those who contributed to making this happen today, but we cannot forget that we have by no means come close to addressing the larger issues here.”

The UMWACC was established in 1996 and has trained more than 19,000 dislocated miners and spouses, placing them into careers ranging from health care to heavy equipment operators to engineering. Changes in the way federal job retraining funds are allocated have hampered the ability of the UMWACC and other private nonprofit training centers to receive federal grants. The UMWACC was on the verge of closing the doors of its state-of-the-art facility in Ruff Creek because it could not receive the Build Back Better grant until the matching funds were secured.