College and Career Options for Unemployed Workers

Going Back to School After You’ve Been Laid-Off, Part 1

Stabilize YOUR Economic Future

You don’t need to be listening closely to the news to be familiar with terms like these:

  • recession
  • depression
  • credit spiral
  • economic crisis
  • financial insolvency
  • market volatility
  • plunge
  • upheaval

As if to counteract the psychological impact of the everyday rhetoric, the federal government’s message is about STABILITY and for very wise reasons. That’s the macro view—the Big Picture. But on a more micro level your life matches any, or all, of the above. And that’s personal.

In the article on What to Do When You are Suddenly Laid Off, you can see what the priority steps are to initial stabilization of YOUR personal economic situation, but after the dust has settled and you need a solid plan and blueprint for action, let’s explore these timely questions:

  • What are the options for going back to school?
  • Could even a few more months in a classroom position you for a more secure future?
  • And if so, is it possible to evaluate the best careers in turbulent times?

Education and Re-Training Resources for Unemployed Workers

Part of your state’s unemployment procedure will most likely include registering with the Workforce Development Center. At this stage of the game, unless you’re temporarily displaced from your job or a union worker, you will undergo a detailed interview designed to evaluate your self-sufficiency in the job market, match any skills you possess to the current labor market and possibly determine if you are a candidate for any state retraining program OR eligible to receive education assistance to go back to school.

Is College a Good Choice in an Unemployment Environment?

Free college hand-outs are limited, at best, and only the most financially hobbled workers will get tuition waivers. But on community college campuses across America unemployed workers are applying for some very good career and degree programs—that require between a few months and 2 years to complete. Other displaced professionals are finishing their Masters degrees, considering trade schools, or even striking out on their own entrepreneurial path.

But is it a good choice, a wise strategy?

If your current level of education, high school, some college, Bachelors degree, Masters degree, is not keeping you in your job it could be that you need to flesh out more critical skills in a classroom. The sad truth is that some jobs and careers are simply not viable enough to survive an economic recession.

What, then, are the “bullet-proof” careers and how can you get one? Check out Part 2…


# Linda Faith 2011-07-16 10:42
Iwas terminated for absenteeism (misconduct) I was turned down were I had to tell my side and faxed it over and with the facts that should not been terminated for taking care of Cerebral Palsy residents at home and in the Hospital when sick with the flu even swine flu for a whole month and caught the flu for caring. Now United Cerebral Palsy Bayville wants to take me in front of a Appeal Board for the same thing Misconduct (absenteeism) after I won my case. Question I was told by an employee at the Appeal Board to fax a letter with the form to appear at the Appeal Board that didn't have to go since I won my case and already collecting unemployment checks. Now I got a letter from the Board saying I should have shown. My question is can an employer take you the Appeal Board for the same reason for termination after I won and have been collecting since 4/25/2011 and received recroative payments? Why should I have to prove my self again because United Cerebral Palsy Bayville doesn't want me receive my UI checks after I worked for the Agency 11 years with perfect evaluations. Do I have to go in front of the Judge and give the same information that UI has already? Plus ruin my reputation for future employment when I am trying to get a job in a Hospital after taking a CNA course to get into the Hospital. If my benefits are stopped I won't be able to pay my bills. I loose my car no phone no roof over my head can't pay rent. How am I suppose to get to interviews, call for interviews or get call about a job, and if I don't have a car I wouldn't get a job because I wouldn't my own transportation. I don't think this is right because UCP Bayville does'nt want to pay. They been doing this for along time since I started 11 years ago. 63 year old woman they said Misconduct also and Blackbald her couldn't collect UI and she was a good worker like I was. I believe they already have some kind of bad history for terminating employees for the same reason. UCP Bayville is mostly run by relatives which has to stop in all places. Also I won't be able to fill my medication with out UI checks I have not insurance I am in the middle trying to get medicaid. What amazing the non US people that sneak into the US get free everything. When I been working since I was in high school. And when my husband died at 43 I was even turned down for food stamps three times when I had a child home to feed. Couldn't get section 8 yet I see people living in them all driving new cars nice closes having good jobs. Not Fair.
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# kim 2011-07-28 14:19
What will happen if in a month I wanted to start back to school? will they stop my unemployment or what?
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# mera 2011-10-24 10:47
I just recently tried to file for my unemployment and it said that, there will be a zero balance deposited into my account.WHY is this. I made the decision to go and get my GED because most places you apply for want at least that much.I also want to take some college classes,with that being said now i answered the question that i am going back to school and i'm getting ZERO????
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# Angela 2011-11-03 14:56
Mera, why should the unemployment office pay you to go to school? The unemployment office isn't a schooling program, it is for people who have lost their jobs due to being laid off, fired for no reason, etc. It isn't for people that choose to quit their jobs to go to school. You are very mistaken in what unemployment is for.
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# Manuel 2011-11-07 11:54
Angela, Mera was not saying she wanted unemployment to pay her to go to school. She is trying to go to school to better her chances of getting a job and get off of unemployment.
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# Carl 2012-01-12 11:10
You will need to contact them. I was working 40+ a week and going to school 3/4 each semester when I got laid off. You can get unemployment as long as your searching for a job and available for a minimum of 20 hours work each week.
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# nick 2012-09-20 13:37
Hey this is wrong unemployment is for people working less the 40hrs listen to the requirements when you call in. unemployment supports education and improving your marketability into becoming more valuable to getting a job not just saying woa is me I don't have a job give me money. No go back to school get more education and get back to work this is exactly how unemployment works. Give people a break and you seam to be one of the people that just sits around waiting for your UI claim to run out. School check it out. PS im in school and working and collecting UI.
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# Jl 2013-03-04 10:21
Why don't you learn how to listen & comprehend instead of jumping all over somebody who's having a hard time. She said she going back to school to be more marketable. Btw, there are many educated people out of work and many working people living in poverty or living in shelters. U.S is being destroyed by the people who run it from the top. It started with NAFTA & GATT.
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# Tiffany 2012-01-28 12:55
I'm 28 years old and a single mother. I'm working a dead end job right now and would like to further my education. If I was to enroll back in school would I be eligible for unemployment benefits until I finished my schooling?
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# Theresa 2012-02-27 11:57
Can you draw unemployement and go to school.I really want a trade.
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# Elizabeth 2012-05-02 14:54
Above I see your response about going to school and receiving unemployment benefits reads more or less "that as long as a person keeps seeking employment and is available to work 20 hours a week, they are entitled to receive unemployment benefits while going to school". My question is this, if I am going to school and find a job working 20 hours a week, do I still receive my unemployment benefits?
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# Christopher 2012-07-21 15:26
I have not yet lost my job but I expect to within the month. If I am laid off I would like to go back to school and pursue a specific trade. I have two questions:

1. Will unemployment allow me to collect benefits while attending school?

2. What are the requirments to be eligible for tuition assistance.
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# lamont 2012-09-25 12:18
I'm looking for schooling to better myself. Will i be able to collect unemployment till i finish school.
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# LOURDES 2012-11-14 10:51
I WENT TO THE ONE STOP CAREER IN NEWARK NJ TO SPEAK TO A COUNCELER,ON GOING BACK TO SCHOOL,THEY SAID THEY DONT PAY FOR SCHOOLING ANYMORE,AND NEVER GAVE ME A CHANCE TO SPEAK TO THE COUNCELER.DONT THEY GET FUNDS?MEANTIME THEIR GIVING THEIR OWN CLASSES THERE.there was a guy handing out flyers of a medical school outside.he said that unemployment get funds but they tell you they interested on going to school to better my skills which was what i requested when i first started my benefits,i never recieved a call from a counceler.
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# jim 2012-11-28 01:31
I live in hawaii and want to go to college currenlty unemployed.

who what when where cani do i need to get started w/ to make this happen
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# Tammy 2013-01-07 13:52
I went to job seekers orientation to find out about training program requirements and how to get financing for school. I completed the requirements of the program and when I call to make an appointment with the counselor all I get is an answering machine. I leave my number, but never get a call back. What else can I do to make an appointment with a counselor?
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# Natalie 2013-08-19 03:52
I am currently working but am starting to struggle with the demands of my position. I would like to go back to school to strengthen the knowledge of my position or possibly find a better career. I feel like I should leave now. I don't want to make it worse as time goes on. If I go back to school, I wouldn't mind working a part time job in the mean time. Would I be able to collect unemployment while I go back to school and look for a part time job?
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