Education Funds for Auto Industry States
If you’ve lost your job with one of the auto manufacturers and are not sure what to do next, take heart. Channeling stimulus money toward the states hardest hit by the recession, the U.S. Department of Education set aside $7 million in education funds especially for the auto industry states in early June, Colin Fly of the Associated Press reported last week. The Education Department wants community colleges and technical/vocational colleges to create “innovative and sustainable” retraining programs that will prepare displaced workers for new careers. The first programs funded with this money are targeted for communities in which autoworkers have lost their jobs, but retraining programs in other hard-hit states will follow.
The $7 million announced on June 3rd will be awarded to institutions of higher learning, private and public nonprofit organizations, and other agencies that create retraining programs primarily for adults who have been laid off in the auto industry states. One goal is to help these workers continue to provide for their families with a steady income; a second goal is to help workers successfully transition into new careers by using their skills and expertise in new industries.
“Education is the catalyst for a strong economy and the means by which adults will reinvent themselves and rebuild the industrial cities that have been the foundation of our nation,” said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “The Obama administration is committed to supporting auto communities and workers, who have been displaced from their jobs. Community colleges are invaluable resources for adults seeking to acquire new skills that are needed by employers.”
For laid-off workers in the auto industry states, the $7 million education funding will be used in several ways directly and indirectly related to the needs of adults returning to school: career counseling, academic counseling, assistance with the college registration process, academic tutoring, childcare, transportation, and buying textbooks.
If you’re a laid-off auto industry worker, you may be eligible for one of these new retraining programs in the fall. Stay in touch with your state’s higher education office and unemployment office for announcements about which voc/tech and community colleges will offer programs that suit your needs and skills.