Manchin, Barrasso Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Boost Domestic Mining Workforce

March 22, 2023

Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, and John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the ENR Committee, introduced the Mining Schools Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation will increase and improve opportunities for university and college mining and geological programs, like those at West Virginia University, to prepare students to meet America’s future energy needs.

“At a time when the United States is making historic investments in our energy security and independence, universities nationwide continue to see declining enrollment in mining and geological engineering programs. Let me be clear: without a strong workforce of American miners, the United States will continue to rely on China, Russia and other foreign nations for our supply of raw materials and rare earth minerals, and this is unacceptable. This bipartisan legislation would provide schools with the resources needed to recruit students and maintain crucial programs that will help strengthen our mining workforce, create innovative new mining technologies and onshore vital supply chains. West Virginia miners have powered this nation to be the superpower we are today — the next generation of miners will ensure the U.S. continues to be a global energy leader,” said Chairman Manchin.

“Unleashing American mining is good for our economy and good for the state of Wyoming. It’s also critical to boosting America’s energy security,” said Ranking Member Barrasso. “That can’t happen unless we continue to recruit and train the next generation of American workers. Our mining schools are an essential part of that process. Our bill will help accomplish this important goal.”

“Mining engineering and minerals are critical to U.S. infrastructure, security, green technologies and environmental sustainability. Every segment of society uses minerals and mineral resources every day— as renewable infrastructure materials, construction, manufacturing, medicine, agriculture, state-of-the art technologies, defense industry and every other segment of society. Mining engineering schools in the U.S. educate and train future mining engineers through high-quality and innovative teaching and research in safe, efficient, environmentally responsible and sustainable recovery and processing of mineral resources. 

“Without support and investment from the government for recruiting and retention of mining engineering students, there is a risk that mining schools will be closed and the U.S. mineral industry will not be able to secure a highly educated workforce to conduct innovative, safe, efficient, environmentally responsible, and sustainable recovery and processing of mineral resources for the benefit of our communities, environment, economy, and national security,” said Vladislav Kecojevic, Robert E. Murray Chair of the Department of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University.

The Mining Schools Act of 2023 would:

  • Establish a grant program for mining schools to receive funds in order to recruit students and carry out studies, research projects, or demonstration projects related to the production of minerals; and
  • Establish the Mining Professional Development Advisory Board to evaluate applications and recommend recipients to the Secretary of Energy, as well as conduct oversight to ensure that grant funds are appropriately used.

Read the text of the Mining Schools Act of 2023 here.


On December 1, 2022, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on S. 3915, the Mining Schools Act of 2022.

On March 24, 2022, Senators Manchin and Barrasso introduced S. 3915, the Mining Schools Act of 2022.