ReWire Appalachia, an initiative of the Coalfield Development Corporation to train displaced coal and manufacturing sector workers in solar roof installation, is not only changing the community, it’s changing lives, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said.
The enterprise was celebrated Wednesday at the West Edge Factory in Huntington’s Westmoreland neighborhood when representatives with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo presented Coalfield Development with a 2016 CommunityWINS grant for $150,000 for its work with the West Edge Factory Solar Training Institute.
To commemorate the award, Williams, along with representatives from U.S. Conference of Mayors, Wells Fargo and Coalfield Development, ceremoniously raised a solar panel on top of a makeshift roof at the factory that is used to train ReWire Appalachia crew members.
“We are so proud of what the Coalfield Development Corp. has been able to do,” Williams said. “We are able to stand here together and say that we can create a new future for those who live within our community and beyond.”
Robert Adkins, a crew chief with ReWire Appalachia, is helping to drive that future.
After working in the coalfields for seven years, Adkins, like others, found himself without a job.
“Everybody knows that the mining industry is declining, and it’s a scary feeling to leave for vacation – and even the weekend – and not know if you are going to have a job when you get back,” he said.
With the added pressure of wanting to provide for a wife and 10-month-old baby girl, Adkins said he was more than blessed to be able to transition into a new career through the help of Coalfield’s solar training program…