Assistance continues to be offered to local coal miners and their families affected by the shutdown of Blackjewel LLC facilities.

Several hundred Blackjewel employees in Virginia and many more in other states were idled July 1 when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


Mountain Empire Community College and the Slemp Foundation are partnering to assist families impacted by the Blackjewel mine closures with tuition and college expense assistance.

Qualifying families living in Lee and Wise counties are encouraged to visit to submit their contact information. An MECC representative will work with individuals to determine qualification and potential available assistance.

MECC has assisted several Blackjewel employees and family members with enrollment and retraining needs. The Slemp Foundation has donated $20,000 to further provide for families impacted by the mining closure to be used to pay for tuition, books, and other college-related needs.

For more information, contact MECC Dean of Student Services Lelia Bradshaw at 276/523-2400, ext. 288.


Donations of $2,000 each for certain Blackjewel miners and their families were expected to be distributed this week.

Monday, the Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation presented a $250,000 check to the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board.

The workforce development board identified 125 Blackjewel workers who had signed up for employment services assistance in Virginia.

Blackjewel employees who attended July workforce board rapid response events in Norton and St. Charles, or a job fair in Appalachia, are in the database used for the foundation gift.

Any Blackjewel miners who worked in Wise or Lee counties but did not attend the July events are urged to contact one of the following workforce development specialists for assistance:

• Wise County/Norton: Jason Marsingill, Career Works Center, 1725 Park Ave. NW, Norton; 276/325-3270 or

• Lee County: Monica Middleton, 119 Hill St., Jonesville; 276/346-0054 or

• Scott County: Sherry Tabor, The Pioneer Center, 225 Boone Trail Rd., Duffield; 276/431-3594 or