- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) - A government-funded employment agency in eastern Kentucky is promoting telework jobs to help revive the economy as the region’s coal industry struggles.

Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, a Hazard-based agency, has started the Teleworks USA program in an effort to diversify the area’s struggling economy, the Lexington Herald Leader (https://bit.ly/1Ubcv9x) reported.

The program trains people in computer and customer service skills and helps them polish resumes to prepare for job interviews.

Betty Hays, operations manager for Teleworks USA, says trainees also get certification covering customer service and sales and learn digital literacy.

“They’re getting someone who knows what they’re doing. They’re trainable, they’re intelligent and they’re willing to work,” Hays said about the trainees.



Michael Cornett, the head of Teleworks USA, says 213 people found jobs through the program in 2015.

The agency serves people in 23 counties and helps them find jobs through the program’s online job board and through training at Teleworks USA centers in Annville and Hazard. Most entry-level jobs available through the program pay a little over the minimum wage, but given that most people work from home, many consider their wages manageable.

“We can manage pretty well on that,” Hays said.

Mary Kibbey, a representative who answers calls for U-Haul and found her job through the program, says telework offered her an opportunity to make a living while working from home.

“It’s helped me a lot,” she said.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com

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