Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Cleveland Fed president visits E.Ky., which is seeking to transition from reliance on coal

Mester learned about Hazard Community
and Technical College's electric lineman and
fiber optic course. (Hazard Herald photo)
Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, recently visited Kentucky to examine economic challenges facing the Appalachian region hurt by the loss of coal jobs.

Mester visited Hazard Community and Technical College to learn about a program that helps displaced coal miners. She then traveled to Lexington to talk about how leadership and collaboration, a skilled workforce and infrastructure can help the region transition economically.

Mester traveled to Hazard to learn about an electrical lineman and fiber optic training course, part of Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment’s Hiring Our Miners Everyday (HOME) initiative, Sam Neace reports for The Hazard Herald.

“As a result of this program, Eastern Kentucky may be able to keep a share of its skilled workforce in the region, thereby helping the local economy to grow,” Mester said. “HOME is also an example of community leadership and collaboration in action, as it brings together a wide range of entities and interlocking relationships.”

Mester also said, “While it is important to help people already in the labor force transition to other occupations in high demand, it is also important to start training people still in school so that they can develop the skills for the jobs of the future and to make sure that those providing that education and training understand what the jobs in demand will be. . . . An important next step will be for the partners to undertake a focused evaluation of the program so that we can all learn which specific strategies work and why they work, and which strategies are less effective and therefore less deserving of continued investment.”

To read a full transcript of Mester's speech in Lexington click here. The bank did a four part series examining Eastern Kentucky's economy; to read it, click here.

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