MORGANTOWN -- Interim director of West Virginia University 's Mining Extension Department Joe Spiker has announced that Tom Hall has been named interim director of the Dolls Run Mine Training and Placement Center near Core in Monongalia County.

Hall has a bachelor's degree from Fairmont State College, worked as an underground coal miner and has been an instructor with the Mining Extension Department for more than 20 years.

New-miner training classes at the center prepare participants for a job in underground or surface mining. The first eight-week class at the center concluded in February with every student passing the required exams to become apprentice coal miners. Twenty students are enrolled in the current class, which began this week.

Classes will run continuously throughout the spring and summer at the facility, said Hall, and two additional instructors will be hired.

The department recently ordered two advanced mine-training simulators, which are expected to arrive in early August. The simulators will help train students in the operation of various types of equipment used in surface and underground mining.

The Dolls Run facility is part of the Academy of Mine Training and Energy Technologies, a joint public-private partnership that recently received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund mine training centers in West Virginia . Major partners include the WVU Department of Mining Extension, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College , and the West Virginia Coal Association. The facility was donated to WVU by CONSOL Energy.

Tuition for each class is $200. People interested in more information about the classes should call the WVU Department of Mining Extension, 304-293-4211, ext. 3800.

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