The grants are part of more than $7.9 million in grants that MSHA will distribute in fiscal year 2006.
"These $1.5 million in grants will equip miners around the country with the training to help ensure that every miner returns home safely at the end of every working day," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said.
The following grants were announced:
- Alabama, $182,669;
- Arkansas, $94,504;
- Illinois, $209,250;
- Indiana, $177,442;
- Maine, $50,202;
- Minnesota, $260,538;
- Missouri, $192,835;
- Navajo Nation, $25,534;
- New Mexico, $137,983; and
- Virginia, $253,990.
The Navajo Nation includes parts of northern Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.
Grantees use the funds to provide federally mandated training to miners. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines, including miners who engage in shell dredging or are employed at surface stone and sand and gravel mining operations.
With the grant money, some state recipients develop videos, DVDs and other training materials. Other states assist mine operators to produce training plans covering topics required under federal regulations.
Past training topics have included hazard recognition; accident prevention; occupational health; roof and ground control; ventilation; mine rescue; mine emergency operations; and certification for various jobs ranging from electricians to hoisting engineers.
Grants are administered by state mine inspectors' offices, state departments of labor or state-supported colleges and universities. States apply for the grants. Each recipient tailors the program to its state miners' individual needs and provides technical assistance.