In Fiscal Year 2005, the Kentucky General Assembly appropriated $3 million to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) for the establishment of the Kentucky Coal Academy (KCA) to expand and improve mining career and technical education and training. Each Fiscal year following the initial appropriation, the Kentucky Coal Academy has received an additional $3 million and will continue to receive this funding to further the goals of the Academy. In addition to the Fiscal year 2005 funding, the KCTCS received $120,000 from the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet to provide administrative support and operating costs for the academy. Coal industry sources indicate that there is a need for some 3,500 miners statewide as the demand for coal increases while more than half of the current mining workforce is nearing retirement.
The intent of the program is to operate an open entry/exit statewide training program to meet the workforce needs of the coal industry. The first program goal is to provide short-term training for new miners to satisfy the industry need for skilled workers. A second is the creation of a career path in mining to sustain the viability of the coal mining career and support the coal industry.