gillette layoffs

Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies

The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies' mobile pantry will be visiting Gillette over the next couple of weeks to support people affected by the recent mine closures.

Duncan Harris, Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of miners gathered in Pennsylvania on Friday to advocate for their rights as the coal industry struggles. 

Bankruptcies are sweeping the industry and coal production is down. Recently, around 465 workers were laid off from two mines in Wyoming's Powder River basin.

John Smallwood, a miner from West Virginia said the coal industry's troubles are hurting his town too. 

The energy industry downturn is sure to have ripple effects throughout many Wyoming communities. Campbell County School District was bracing for large enrollment declines even before this week’s layoffs of nearly 500 area coal workers.

The district’s business manager, Don Dihle, predicts a three percent drop in students next school year.

With some 465 Powder River Basin coal mine workers laid off it’s been busy at the Gillette Workforce Services Center.

Gillette Workforce Services Manager Ramona Peterson says it was probably the busiest day she’s ever seen. A steady stream of displaced coal workers have stopped in to figure out their next step. For some, it's help with updating their resume, for others it's explaining what their options are. Peterson admits that there aren’t a lot of jobs at the moment.