Fracking jobs prove elusive for coal miners looking to switch

Robert Dennis has mined coal in West Virginia for 10 years but a recent evening found him in a classroom at his local community college. He came to learn about opportunities in fracking, a drilling technique used to produce natural gas — the very fuel that is threatening coal’s future.

“I know mining inside and out,” said Dennis, a 41-year-old shift foreman from Wetzel County, adjusting the black Adidas cap on his head. But now, “I just want more doors to be open.”

He has earned a certificate in chemical and industrial operations, diligently searched job boards and filled out applications. So far, no luck.

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