The Appalachian coal miner is having a tough time finding work. Sustainable energy, like solar and wind, has eaten into coal mining at a major clip. But there’s one existing technology that could get displaced coal miners back to work. And no, it’s not a new model of drills.

It’s drones.

The government is making a big bet that drones—and the skills required to operate them—will help put out-of-work coal miners get back in business, but not necessarily in coal. Recently, The White House announced $28 million in federal grants to support 42 economic and workforce development projects in 13 coal-producing states. One of these  grants will send $2.2 million to support the Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project in which Mountain Empire Community College will offer courses to train students, including former coal industry workers, to fly drones.

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