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October 31, 2011
Education as an Option for the Laid Off
With the national unemployment rate still sitting at around 9.1%, it isn’t strange to hear that many laid-off Americans are going back to college to sharpen their skills and even learn about completely new areas of interest, looking to use that education to locate a job down the road.
As millions of Americans remain looking for work, those who can afford courses at their local colleges, universities, community colleges, and even online sites are taking advantage of the possibilities.
While many individuals struggle to come up with the necessary funding to return to school or attend college for the very first time, others are tapping into state and federal tuition aid for displaced workers.
What Do Some Schools Offer?
The $787 billion stimulus bill authored into law in February 2009 by President Obama includes $1.7 billion for adult employment services, which include training. In a number of cases, individuals can continue to obtain unemployment benefits and school financial aid as long as they remained enrolled in class.
For their part, schools are doing more to provide classes that adults will be drawn to in their quest to learn new skills. Oftentimes, schools will work with businesses in their community to see which trades would be most necessary for workers looking to stay in their communities and work.

A number of schools have gone on to create courses that give older students the ability to update skill levels in areas such as math, reading, and computers. With computers a necessity in countless jobs these days, it only makes sense that older laid-off workers who did not have much interaction with technology study up on it and use it in 2011.

Education Questions for New Students
In many cases, unemployed workers are looking for degrees and certificates that can be earned in the less than standard four-year timetable. The sooner a former worker has a degree in hand in a specialty field, the sooner they can begin the job hunt.

With that said, is now the time to go to school and reshape your career plans?
For individuals interested in returning or heading to campus for the first time, among the things to consider are:
  • Why am I going here in the first place? Am I going to put in the time and effort needed for studies etc. or is this going to be more than I can handle over time? If so, I need to rethink my strategy.
  • Do I have the necessary finances? Even with my unemployment and tuition assistance, can I make a go of this financially? Are there other options like looking for free courses either online or at a school?
  • What fields are best for me to study in? While some job fields have taken a hard hit during the last few years, fields like health, technology, insurance, auto repair etc. continue to produce a fair amount of job possibilities. The bottom line on the aforementioned fields is that consumers still need services in such areas. If you’re looking to switch fields from the one you got laid off in, be sure it is one that is relatively healthy and one you would be interested in working in. 
The bottom line is that there are education options out there for those who have been laid off, both for two and four-year degrees and certificates.
The toughest part is oftentimes coming to the grips with the layoff and then deciding what is next. If you find yourself in this position, take the time to educate yourself on all the possibilities that await you.
Getting laid off is really upsetting now, but the opportunity to go back to school and further your education, leading to a better paying job when all is said and done, can make you one day look back on the layoff like a blessing in disguise.

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