West Virginia officials remain supportive of Mined Minds, despite the nonprofit being named in a class-action lawsuit by former participants and shuttering its Pennsylvania operations.
Mined Minds, which has an office at the old Clendenin Middle School, trains people in areas affected by the coal decline in coding and software development.
Participants take a free 32-week course. Graduates are offered a “competency-based” apprenticeship, working on projects for Mined Minds clients, that can last up to 64 weeks with “regular pay increases on meeting learning milestones,” per a Mined Minds document.
Mined Minds, founded in Pennsylvania, says it’s helping coalfield communities transition to a more economically sound future in coding. But the lawsuit, filed in Raleigh County Circuit Court on Dec. 6, is seeking damages from Mined Minds for what some former participants claim were false promises about wages and job prospects.
Victoria Frame, a Clay County resident who participated in the Mined Minds program starting in June, said in the lawsuit she was promised pay for her time in the training and apprenticeship phases of the program but never received it.
The program “did not sufficiently prepare [Frame] for a job in the tech field,” despite Mined Minds saying the training was “as good as or better than a college education,” it said.
Co-founder Amanda Laucher said there is “absolutely no substance” to the lawsuit’s claims. She said 100 percent of program graduates have had job offers when including Mined Minds. As for claims that the training portion of the program promised pay, she said the plaintiffs gave written confirmation acknowledging there would be no payment during training.
The lawsuit said Frame exited the program in November after news broke of Mined Minds ending their Pennsylvania classes. Pittsburgh news station KDKA-TV…