MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mason Anderson is a 21-year-old contracted worker at Mobile Power Washing who works at the coal-fired Fort Martin power plant in Maidsville, West Virginia. Last year, he decided he wasn’t going to continue his education at West Virginia University in civil engineering. Instead, he decided to attend asynchronous courses at Salem University and work full time at the plant.
“As soon as I figured out that civil engineering was setting me up for a different career path than I was looking for,” Anderson said, “I knew I needed to change something, and I still wanted a degree, so I ended up going with a business management degree with an engineering management specialization.”
Anderson, like generations of workers before him, was drawn to the physical work involved in working in the coal industry, and he doesn’t mind the long shifts. Working in the industry provided stability and lucrative pay, but stories like Anderson’s are harder to come by today. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), West Virginia lost more than 50,000 coal mining jobs in the past decade. Additionally, statewide West Virginia has produced half the amount of coal that was produced just a decade ago.
To read more: https://www.dominionpost.com/2021/05/30/west-virginians-grapple-with-the-future-of-the-states-energy-production/