Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dislocated Workers Program

So, it turns out there’s something called the “Dislocated Workers Program,” in which the government pays for you to go back to school if you are “dislocated.” Dislocated is an interesting way to put it, but in any event, I applied for the program and was accepted! Like all government programs, there are several rules and hoops to jump through, I suppose in the hopes that you get lost in all the paperwork, and they don’t have to actually pony up the cash.

So, the rules are basically that you need to be moving into a career path that you can actually get a job in. For instance, they would not have paid for me to get my English degree. Nursing is in high demand, so it’s on their approved list. You have to maintain a “C” average while you are in the program. You have to check in with your counselor once a month to tell them how things are going. Sounds like being on parole. You have to attend one workshop per month on ridiculous things like “how to write a resume.” Ok, that’s a useful skill I guess, but still.

The hoops to jump through are: I have to complete their mock application to prove to them I know how to fill out a job application. I have to research the field that I want to go into, and answer questions about it, like a book report in days of old. I have to contact 3 employers and ask them how much they would pay me and what kind of benefits they would give me if I was a nurse. I have to apply for FAFSA. I have to turn in an example of a cover letter I’ve written. I have to take a reading and math test. I’ve already turned in the required copy of my resume, work search record, self assessment questionnaire, skills match questionnaire, job interest inventory, letter of termination from my last employer, and all my legal documents that prove I’m me.

For doing all this, they’ll cover my school costs. I was hoping at least they would pay for the CNA class, but they said they would pay for all the classes all the way through the RN program except for the 2 prerequisite classes I have left to take (Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology). Wow! That was the best news I’d heard in a month of unemployment! Until she told me they would also pay for all my books, my physical, my shoes, my uniforms, my stethoscope and all those other necessary supplies, my liability insurance, and even mileage to and from school and daycare if I’m a full time student! Ok, now THAT was the best news I’d heard in a month.

I would be foolish not to take advantage of this. I’m pretty excited, but worried that maybe I won’t be able to go to school, take care of the baby (currently sleeping in his swing), and work enough to contribute enough to pay the bills. I’m certainly going to give it a try though.

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