By: Lauren Smiley 

Featured on Medium - Backchannel

As America switches from an industrial economy to a digital one, its bluest collar workers are facing the toughest challenge of their lives. Can miners really learn how to code?

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Also featured on the Revivalist

Since the dawn of the 20th century, eastern Kentucky’s economy has been dependent upon the coal industry. Coal was mined and utilized much earlier but could not be transported far on wagons maneuvering through difficult terrain. The only mines that could get coal to markets beyond their local communities were those situated along navigable rivers and waterways.

Can an Appalachian 'Silicon Holler' rise in coal's shadow

Portraits of local heroes are stenciled onto the walls of an old Coca-Cola bottling plant in Pikeville, Kentucky: 10 images that seem to be watching over apprentices hunched over keyboards in what has become the office of businessman Charles "Rusty" Justice's digital startup.

 

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Whitesburg Native Garland Couch Finds Way to Stay in the Mountains with New Job at Computer Coding Firm Bit Source

 

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Check out the articles for Bit Source Employees featured on the TECH HIRE website. 

Adriana, Garland, & Jim

From Coal To Code: A New Path For Laid-Off Miners In Kentucky

All over eastern Kentucky, you see cars and pickup trucks with black license plates proclaiming the owner is a "friend of coal."

Even though the license plates are all over, it's getting harder to find actual coal miners here: Fewer than 6,000 remain in the state, where the coal industry is shrinking fast. More than 10,000 coal workers have been laid off since 2008.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez visited Bit Source, a new computer coding firm in Pikeville, Ky., on May 11, 2015. Sec. Perez toured the facility and met with former coal miners currently training to become computer programmers, with help from the Eastern

 

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"This Kentucky Startup Employs Former Coal Miners And Teaches Them To Code":

As the coal industry collapses, tens of thousands of coal miners have lost jobs, and communities that used to depend on the industry are also struggling to survive. In Pikeville, Kentucky, a small town in the middle of coal country, one startup has responded by experimenting with something new: teaching former coal miners to code.

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EKCEP Program Year Review 2014-2015

PIKE COUNTY’S ADRIANA ABSHIRE PUTS COAL-INDUSTRY APTITUDE TO WORK AS COMPUTER CODER AT NEW EASTERN KENTUCKY TECH FIRM

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WHITESBURG NATIVE GARLAND COUCH FINDS WAY TO STAY IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH NEW JOB AT COMPUTER CODING FIRM BIT SOURCE

By: Addison Berry

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