VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) – Vincennes University, State and Federal lawmakers sat down for Coal Summit Friday on campus to discuss the University’s plan for a coal mining safety simulation facility. The facility, which would be built at a Vincennes University satellite campus in Gibson County, would offer miners-in-training and already employed miners the opportunity to learn safety procedures in state. The State does not have a facility that trains miner safety in an educational environment.
“Indiana mines a lot of coal, in fact, we had a record year last year,” said United States Representative, Larry Bucshon, (R)-Indiana’s 8th congressional district.
Buchson was joined at the Summit by Indiana State Representative Mark Messmer, Vincennes University educators and Coal Industry professionals.
“Vincennes University has said that they are willing to put some of their resources they get from the state into a facility like this,” added Bucshon. “VU has pledged $250,000 to develop the facility,” according to documents from the University.
Currently Indiana does not have a simulated mine for safety training. The closest ones are in Madisonville, Kentucky and Rend Lake, Illinois.
That leaves Indiana’s mining workforce to seek, and drive out of state for safety related training and courses. “I think once we show that we’ll have some local skin in the game and the state will have some skin in the game, I’m hopeful I can find some federal dollars to help,” said Bucshon.
“VU is Indiana’s designated recipient of federal grant funding from the Mine Safety and Health Administration to provide training and retraining of Indiana’s miners,” said an official University Press Release.
“The training is for miners in all segments of the mining industry. VU is also a leader in programs in Advanced Manufacturing, an industry that thrives due to relatively low utility rates in a state in which 83 percent of electric power comes from coal,” added the release.