Throughout his campaign and into his first year as president, Donald Trump vowed to bring back US coal jobs and revitalize the dying industry.
He heralded the opening of the first new coal mine of his era this summer as a fulfillment of his campaign promises. The Acosta mine, owned by Corsa Coal, is set to employ fewer people than the average supermarket.
That new mine is in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where Reuters reports the dream of a second golden age of coal is alive and well, despite all indications that the industry’s future is bleak. In fact, hope is so strong it has Pennsylvania miners rejecting free, federally-funded retraining in new careers.
Reuter’s story followed Mike Sylvester, a 33-year-old son of a coal miner who was offered federally funded courses covering “everything from computer programming to nursing” at a training center, and chose a coal course instead.
“I think there is a coal comeback,” he told Reuters. Elsewhere in the country, federally funded job retraining is well attended. For example, in West Virginia and Kentucky, where coal reserves are literally gone, federal retraining programs have approached full capacity.