After 12 years in the coal mines, Bell countian Randall Beverly was laid off. Though he was told the layoff was only temporary, the mine eventually shut down, leaving Beverly in need of a new job and source of income.
Rather than continuing to look toward coal, Beverly realized it was time to seek a new career. Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program’s (EKCEP) Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) initiative was the catalyst that got him back in the workforce.
Though he traded the reflective-striped gear of a coal miner for the suit and tie of an insurance agent, Beverly said he is well pleased with his career change.
“My new job offers me the opportunity to help people protect those things God has given them like good health and a comfortable life for them and their families,” said Beverly. “I’m proud that I can help clients achieve peace of mind when they are buying insurance.”
Immediately after his layoff, Beverly admitted the path to his new career was far from clear.
“I wasn’t sure what type of job or career would be good for me, so I started searching the Internet for jobs close to Bell County,” Beverly said.
Beverly was determined to find a career that would offer him and his family both job and financial security. Relying on his faith, he prayed for direction after several weeks of job searching with no solid leads.
“As a part-time pastor, I pray about all aspects of my life, and finding a new career became a top priority,” Beverly said.
One day while Beverly was visiting his mother, an insurance agent with Transamerica Agency Network, Jerry Sizemore, stopped by her home to review insurance policies. Once their business concluded, he asked Sizemore about career opportunities with Transamerica.
“Jerry discussed the education and training requirements, as well as the benefits of working for Transamerica,” Beverly explained. “After I spoke with Jerry, I knew this was the direction I should pursue.”
Excited about a new career opportunity, Beverly searched online for dates insurance training was offered. That’s when he also learned how expensive that training could be.
“Living only on my unemployment benefits, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the training,” he said. “Then I remembered someone telling me that Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency had access to grant money that helped out-of-work coal miners.”
Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency delivers H.O.M.E. and other expert career advising services in Bell County under contract with EKCEP.
Beverly contacted Bell-Whitley and met with Career Adviser Pam Wilson to see how H.O.M.E. could help him. After reviewing his situation, Wilson helped Beverly enroll in the initiative.
Funded by a National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, H.O.M.E. — in conjunction with Kentucky Career Center JobSight network — helps laid-off miners and their spouses by paying for on-the-job training, classroom training, basic academic skills, certification and licensing, skilled apprenticeships and other job placement services.
To date, more than 1,400 former coal miners and their spouses have enrolled to seek such assistance through H.O.M.E. Of that total, H.O.M.E. has helped nearly 500 enter classroom or on-the-job training and work internships and helped about 500 others already find new jobs.
In Beverly’s case, H.O.M.E. covered his costs for both the online insurance training class and his state licensure test.
With his training complete and license in hand, Beverly again spoke to Sizemore with Transamerica Agency Network. Within a few weeks, Beverly was working for him.
“Randall impressed me when we first met at his mother’s home,” Sizemore said. “He relates to others easily and genuinely wants to help a person, which is key in the insurance business.”
H.O.M.E. is valuable resource for out-of-work miners as well as employers, Sizemore said, as he has recruited others who have participated in the initiative whom he calls “hardworking and dedicated employees.” He is happy that Beverly has joined the Transamerica team.
Beverly said he enjoys his new career and looks forward to meeting and assisting new clients with their insurance needs.
With unemployment rates higher than ever in eastern Kentucky, Beverly applauds the H.O.M.E. initiative and encourages any out-of-work coal miners in the region to take advantage of all H.O.M.E. can offer them.
“I am so thankful for the financial assistance I received from the H.O.M.E program,” Beverly said. “Their help launched my new career. I am truly blessed.”
For more information on how to enroll in H.O.M.E., contact EKCEP toll-free at 1-855-466-3690 (1-855-HOME-690), or find us online at www.homeeky.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ekcep.