Teleworks hub in Hazard first of its kind
by Amelia Holliday
HAZARD — The Kentucky Career Center Perry County JobSight Teleworks Hub, located on Roy Campbell Drive in Hazard, held its ribbon cutting ceremony last week. Kentucky Teleworks is an initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP).
U.S. Representative Hal Rogers spoke before the ribbon cutting at an event geared toward commending the JobSight’s efforts and the efforts of Rogers’ brainchild, the Helping Our Miners Everyday (HOME) program.
“The work ethic of Kentuckians is better than anyone else in the country,” Rogers spoke to a crowd of over 200 at the Teleworks Hub Thursday morning.
Rogers said the Teleworks Hub is the first of its kind, but will not be the last as there are plans for a second hub to be opened in Jackson County in the near future.
The Perry County hub will be able to employ up to 40 with 20 different types of positions being offered at six different companies, Joshua Ball, manager of Kentucky Teleworks, said.
Rogers’ HOME program has brought in over 1,000 miners in need of work, Jeff Whitehead, executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), said at the event. Of those in the program, 200 are enrolled in various types of training, including health care, welding, lineman work, and truck driving. Another 200 have already gone back to work, half of which are with employers partnered with EKCEP.
Former coal miner Chris Stump, who was served by HOME and is now a trained and employed electrical lineman with TVS cable in Hindman, said the work of the HOME program and the Teleworks Hub really shows the fortitude of Kentuckians.
“This program is just another way of showing that no matter what you throw at us, Eastern Kentuckians can adapt,” he said.
Rogers said he and his office are doing what they can at the Capitol to help those suffering from the rough economic climate in the state.
“We’re not going to stop this effort to fight off this war on coal, but we’re going to help these casualties of the war,” Rogers said, commending the efforts of the Teleworks Hub and EKCEP.
“We are way ahead of schedule, but we’re not taking our foot off the pedal because there’s a lot of work to do here,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead said the plan for the Teleworks hubs are to have them eventually sprinkled throughout the region, with job opportunities coming in from across the region, state, nation, and world, without having to leave the region.
“We’re excited. We can have it all! We can have our coal mines, we can have our mountains, and when it comes to economic development and bringing industry here through technology, for the first time ever we are as flat as Iowa,” Whitehead said.
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