News Archive

KCA Executive Director Honored At Coal Appreciation Day Event For Commitment To Training

Kentucky Coal Academy (KCA) Executive Director Dr. Bill Higginbotham was honored Saturday (Jan. 15, 2010) during a Coal Appreciation Day held in Pikeville in conjunction with Pikeville Colleges womens and mens basketball games against West Virginia Tech. The surprise presentation was given by Julie Wilson, of Coal Operators and Associates, and Haven King, of Coal Mining Our Future, for Higginbothams many years of service to the coal industry. Wilson said it was Higginbothams concern and action for increased mine training and safety that prompted the recognition.

Coal Appreciation Day was held at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. Although it was a Pikeville College-facilitated event, the Kentucky Coal Academy was invited to take part in the celebration-of-coal endeavor because of its commitment to quality mine training. Over 2,000 event visitors had the opportunity to visit the KCA info booth and learn not only more about KCAs mine training services, but about the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

This was a good day for coal, Higginbotham said. It was encouraging to see all those thousands of people come out not only to see a good game, but in support of coal. This also showed that both basketball and coal have devoted fans!

Coal Appreciation Day was sponsored by Coal Operators and Associates and Coal Mining Our Future. The Kentucky Coal Academy was one of several coal mine industry info booths that were set up at the game for event participants to visit. Free T-Shirts were also distributed along with thousands of dollars worth of door prizes.

It was exciting to be a part of planning this event, said Wilson. But it was also exciting to honor Bill. I think we really surprised him ! He is so deserving of recognition, however. Hes worked tirelessly to ensure that the coal mining workforce of the future is highly trained and educated in order to have rewarding careers. Hes always cared about the industry and our thousands of coal miners and their families.

Launched in 2005, the Kentucky Coal Academy is a state-funded mine training program that operates under the auspice of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. KCA offers mine training programs at Southeast Community and Technical College, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Hazard Community and Technical College, and Madisonville Community College. To date, KCA has trained over 40,000 coal miners.