It Keeps Getting Better: Mine Graduates Seven New Miners

It Keeps Getting Better: Mine Graduates Seven New Miners

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Empire State Mine in Fowler graduated its first class of miners Thursday, adding to the economic lift the mine has already brought to the Gouverneur-Fowler area.

The zinc mine reopened in January after being closed for years, putting more than a hundred people back to work.

And the mine is adding employees, through a training program for miners. One of them, Richard Dafoe, graduated Thursday.

"It feels great, it's quite a sense of accomplishment. It's rewarding that I get to become a miner and work in the field," Dafoe said.

The training program is funded by the New York Power Authority and the Workforce Development Institute. The mine's training program also partnered with Fort Drum to bring in some recent veterans.

"They have come a long way, they have exceeded all expectations that we had and they are ready to become a reliable, productive and safe part of the workforce," Darrel Johnson, who trains miners, said.

Friends and families of the students got a tour of the mine's classroom, 2,500 feet below the Earth's surface.

When miners and families returned to the surface, the miners got their graduation plaques - and jobs. They start Friday. A new group of trainees starts July 23.

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