Former Blackjewel miner eyes new career as he heads back to school

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HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Blackjewel miners are still awaiting their paychecks.

Some of the former miners of the now-bankrupt company have found different mining jobs. Some are awaiting the reopening of their former mines. And others are deciding to leave the line of work indefinitely.

"You know I had always told my wife I wanted to be out of the mines by the time I was 40, and I didn't know I was speaking that into life," said Collin Cornette, a former miner.

Cornette is enrolled in the fast-track machinist program at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

"I had always said if something were to happen I could do this. I didn't realize something was going to happen," said Cornette.

Cornette worked in the coal mines for 18 years. In October he turns 41 and decided now was his time to step out from underground.

"I'm very excited because it gives me another option," Cornette said. "I've been defined as a coal miner, that's who I was, that's what I have done."

Cornette believes he is making the right decision and trusts his unwavering faith to lead him through.

"At the end of the day, my trials and my tribulations don't mean a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things," said Cornette.

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