VU supports coal workers navigating industry changes - External Relations
VU supports coal workers navigating industry changes
May 24, 2021
VINCENNES, Ind. - Indiana annually is among the top ten coal-producing states. The coal industry has been a source of good-paying jobs for generations of Hoosiers in Southwest Indiana. Recent trends and the current outlook, however, suggest continued shrinkage in coal-related employment.
Vincennes University offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, certificates, and training to help individuals affected by the trend transition to alternative employment opportunities. Helping individuals meet challenges by assisting them in leveraging their skills and professional experience to elevate their career or pursue new opportunities is important to the University.
"Whether it's a short term training program, a one-year certificate, or a full degree, VU wants coal miners to know that we are here to assist them in the transition to their next career, often at little or no cost," VU's Vice President for Workforce Development and Community Services David Tucker said.
Free state-wide training in high-growth, high-income job fields is also available at VU through Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program and Workforce Ready Grants that pay for tuition and fees for eligible Hoosiers. Indiana residents can gain in-demand skills necessary for attractive careers in Advanced Manufacturing, Health & Life Sciences, Building & Construction, Information Technology & Business Services, and Transportation & Logistics. VU offers Workforce Ready Grant programs through Next Level Jobs for students online and in multiple locations throughout Indiana, including the Vincennes and Jasper campuses and Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis.
John Tackett of Paintsville, Kentucky, was four months into unemployment after being laid off from the coal mine where he worked as a mechanic and electrician when it came to the point that he knew he must do something.
Tackett turned to VU for a solution and transitioned to an in-demand career in machining.
He temporarily moved to the Indianapolis area and enrolled in a 16-week program at VU’s Haas Technical Education Center in Lebanon, seizing the opportunity to embark on a new career as a CNC machinist.
"I was at the point of desperation to where I just wanted to try to get some skill to try to pursue another field other than coal mining," Tackett said. "I think the skills between going from a coal miner to a machinist correlated a lot more than most people would realize. I was assured when I got out of the CNC program that I would have a job upon completion, and there would be an opportunity for me."
When Tackett completed the CNC Machining program he was enrolled in, Tackett immediately found a machining job. He eventually went on to become a CNC instructor.
"I learned the skills I needed to be successful in the field I was going into," he said. "It was an opportunity I needed at the time. We had a really good foundation, and I had really good instructors at the Gene Haas facility. The employers that I went on to work for were always impressed. I have nothing but great things to say about the Haas facility and Vincennes University."