A Virginia man responds thoughtfully when asked if immigrants are taking coal jobs.

Meet Nic Smith. He's got some powerful things to say.

Nic, who works at a Waffle House in Virginia, comes from a long line of union coal miners. His grandfathers were coal miners. His great-grandfathers were coal miners. Cousins, uncles, you name it. However, the coal industry has been shedding jobs for a while now. And, while President-elect Donald Trump has promised to bring all those coal jobs back, Nic isn't buying it.

In the video below, he lays out the facts pretty clearly as to why. Really bluntly.

If you don't have time to watch all of his powerful answers, here are the highlights of what Nic had to say:


1. "Coal's not coming back."

Yeah, Trump has claimed he's going to bring back all the coal jobs. But according to experts, those jobs are just not coming back, between automation of systems and lower demand for the polluting energy source. From 2008-2012 alone, the coal industry lost almost 50,000 jobs while natural gas, wind, and solar all had huge gains in the same time period.

2. "Ain't no damn immigrant stole a coal job. I'll tell you that right now."

"Even if they did," he continued, "would you be blaming the immigrants or the people that hired them? The only reason they'd hire an immigrant over an American citizen is if it benefits their wallets."

He's right. The reality is that uneducated immigrants are vying for different jobs than American workers.

3. "I do $2.35 an hour plus tips. ... We need $15 an hour."

In a second video, Nic explains how little he earns, by waiting tables at the local Waffle House. He makes $2.35 per hour plus tips, unless those tips are less than minimum wage, then he makes $7.35 per hour. He'd make more as a cook on the grill on most nights than he does as a waiter, but even that isn't enough to support himself. It's only $15,000 per year.

In Dickenson County, Virginia, where Nic lives, 1 in 5 people live below the poverty line, and the average income is barely half that of the rest of Virginia.

4. "[Trump supporters] are desperate to believe in something."

The reason many blue-collar workers and low-income people in the coal industry voted for Trump? "There's 80% [of people], they're struggling day to day," Nic says. "The only industry they've got there is coal, and they're trying to hold onto what little bit there is. And they really don't care what it takes to keep that industry there or bring it back. "

If there's one thing Nic hopes people take away from his interview, it's that we can't ignore people in dying industries.

"If we invested in Appalachian people and helped diversify the economy, these people would stop clinging to coal," he says. "There is a culture-wide Stockholm syndrome we have with the coal industry, and people don't get that."

You can learn more about Fight for $15 here.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

Keep Reading Show less