Measuring Returns of The Coal Industry

Posted: Updated:
(Image of Gibson North operation courtesy of Alliance Resource Partners LP.) (Image of Gibson North operation courtesy of Alliance Resource Partners LP.)

A study launched by the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana could help shape the focus of work force initiatives related to one of the region's signature industries. The study will evaluate the impact of reduced coal use on jobs and training on a region traditionally known as a coal production and consumption powerhouse. Over the last five years, the coalition says 1,500 jobs have been lost in nine southwest Indiana counties.

Coalition Chief Executive Officer Greg Wathen says the results will help inform talent attraction and retention efforts. He says decisions need to be made regarding training or redeployment of "this marvelous asset" that is the region's coal industry work force.

WorkOne Southwest Executive Director Jim Heck says "the goal of this project is the need to gauge the impact on coal and coal-fired power plants and the impact to the surrounding economies' workforce." As power suppliers trend away from using coal as an energy source, the study will look to see the current and future effects on the regions work force. If the numbers are high enough, the results could push area leaders toward applying for federal training support for affected employees.

Coal is still a big deal in the state. In all, there are some two dozen active coal-producing operations in the state. The Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research at Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development estimate the Hoosier mining industry supports more than 2,500 jobs and has a more than $750 million on the economy. Each year, Indiana ranks among the top ten coal producing states in the nation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an average of 32 billion to 35 billion tons of coal come from the state every year.

WorkOne Southwest Executive Director Jim Heck and Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana Vice President of Community Development Carol Hagedorn describe the intention of the study.

  • Perspectives

    • Scott Flood is the owner of Scott Flood Writing.

      Kvetching Employees Kill Reputations

      There's a lot to bemoan about the state of customer service, but one particularly disturbing trend I've noticed is a growing number of employees complaining in the presence of customers.



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Ivy Tech Promotes Monroe to Provost

      Ivy Tech Community College has promoted Kara Monroe to provost/senior vice president. The position was previously held by Dr. Steven Tincher, who will retire in June. Monroe currently serves as vice president, academic innovation and support. In her new role, Monroe will provide overall leadership for academic affairs and serve as the chief academic officer for the college.

    • Construction to Start on Tech Park Hotel

      Groundbreaking on the first hotel at WestGate@Crane Technology Park will take place Wednesday in Odon. Officials say the $7 million Sleep Inn and Mainstay-branded hotel will employ more than 20. Owners Mike and Debbie Hicks also own the Comfort Suites in French Lick and the Legend of French Lick Resort Boutique Hotel and Event Center. Plans include...

    • Kroger Hires Eric Halvorson

      A former longtime Indianapolis television anchor and reporter has been hired by The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). Eric Halvorson, who left WISH-TV last year after 33 years, will serve as public affairs manager and media spokesman for the company's Central Division. He succeeds John Elliott, who will become the chief executive officer of Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis later this year.

    • Another Major Development Coming to International Marketplace

      Officials in Indianapolis will Friday break ground on a $24 million mixed-use development at the International Marketplace on the city’s west side. The International Marketplace Coalition says the Pyramids at 35 Hundred will include residential and commercial space, creating 75 permanent jobs.

    • The teams will be competing for $15,000 in total prizes.

      State's Largest Hackathon Targets Public Safety

      Launch Fishers and the Indiana IoT lab will this weekend host what organizers call Indiana's largest hackathon. This year's At&T #IoTCivicHack will focus on public safety solutions. Fishers Police Chief Mitch Thompson says new, cutting-edge technology ideas are especially helpful in an industry where "we tend to surround ourselves with other professionals that are in public safety and we all tend to think alike."