As the U.S. transitions to more sustainable forms of energy, the Obama administration has been steadily investing in retraining programs for people who used to work for the once-booming American coal industry, where states like West Virginia and Kentucky are losing thousands of jobs a year.

This week, the White House announced nearly $28 million in federal grants to fund 42 workforce and economic redevelopment projects in Appalachian states hit hardest, including $1.5 million to build a new education and technology training center in Tennessee and $2.2 million to train former coal workers to fly drones in southwest Virginia.

By including drone pilot training in federal workforce redevelopment programs, the Obama administration is sending a clear signal that it projects drones will soon become a key component of the American economy.

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