Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:30PM - 269 Views
Tom Doty
Times Columnist

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Julia Roberts Goad

Staff Writer

PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Since the begining of 2012, over 2,250 people have been laid off in Eastern Kentucky. The Eastern part of the Commonwealth has an unemployment rate of 11.9

percent in June compared to 8.4 percent throughout Kentucky. And Eastern Kentucky’s

percentage is poised to increase further because many workers affected by mass coal mining layoffs in June will not enter the unemployment rolls until this fall when severances run out.

To help those affected by the massive layoffs, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program will hold a benefits fair in Pikeville Sept. 10.

People who have lost their jobs will have a chance to connect with expert help to navigate the

unemployment insurance system, get mortgage and tax assistance, and train for new careers at the fair, which will be held at the East Kentucky Expo Center from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“Our region is currently experiencing huge dislocations within certain sectors, with coal mining being the hardest hit,” said EKCEP’s Bridget Back. “It is because of this, that we are pulling together various community partners and agencies to host these fairs around the region.

“The fair will help educate laid-off workers on the many services and benefits offered to them,” Back continued, “as well as put them in direct contact with the agencies supplying those services.”

EKCEP is partnering with Big Sandy Health Care, to present the fair. Other organization that wll be on hand include Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, Kentucky Adult Education, Kentucky Community Technical and College System,Kentucky Housing Corporation and Eastern Kentucky University.

Additional agencies will be on hand to provide information on mental health counseling,legal advice, tax and retirement advice, and Vocational Rehabilitation.

Also, EKCEP’s Kentucky Teleworks and Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky programs will be present at the fair.

Kentucky Teleworks helps people find and land legitimate, rewarding, well-paid work-from-home, or “telework,” job opportunities. At the benefits fairs, laid-off worker as well as their spouses can learn how they can take advantage of such opportunities.

Various employers will also be present to take job applications, including Arch Coal, which is hiring for its West Virginia mining operations, and Kelly Services, which hires for positions at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky assembly plant in Georgetown.

The event is the latest in a series of benefits fairs hosted this summer by EKCEP and other partners, including Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation. Fairs held in Whitesburg, Hazard, Harlan and Prestonsburg drew a total of more than 600 laid-off workers.

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