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Adult Career Education

People in a job transition phase often rely on adult career education for assistance.

Adult career education classes contain students of all ages. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Adult career education classes contain students of all ages.

Adult Career Education

Former employees who have lost their jobs can turn to adult career education classes for support. These courses provide a professional learning environment for those seeking to further their education in a specific field. According to an April 2009 press release from the United States Department of Labor, since the recession began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have been lost. As a result, adult education classes allow the unemployed to sharpen their skills, learn a new trade or network with other business contacts in hopes of landing back in the workforce.

Adult Career Education Options

For those who find themselves re-evaluating their job future, relying on adult career education courses or classes can be the first step. Additionally, when recently unemployed workers find their jobs are no longer available or are quickly disappearing from the workforce, heading back to the classroom is an easy choice. Brushing up on skills by attending training courses or certification classes is another option to consider.

It is even more beneficial to the unemployed worker to go back and earn a degree from a community college. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007, workers who only possessed a high-school diploma earned about $31,000, while workers who obtained a bachelors degree brought in almost double that number, with slightly more than $51,000.

With numerous options for classes or training, adults need to determine what works best with their schedule. From community colleges or trade schools to unemployment offices, there is no shortage of assistance. Even if potential students are unavailable to attend classes during the day, certain schools offer classes in the evening or online. There is hope available outside of the classroom, too. Unemployed workers can contact workers at an unemployment office, and learn beneficial interviewing skills to help secure another job.

Community Resources

To attract recently unemployed workers, some community colleges and technical schools are gearing their classes to those students who need new skills. They also work closely with local companies to see what types of workers these companies desire, and then offer retraining courses to help prospective employees attain this overall goal. In a March 2009 survey conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), 84 percent of the community colleges surveyed reported that they offer courses to adults over the age of 50. Of those colleges that featured these classes, 93 percent of them perceived a demand for this type of service, not only from potential students but also from businesses and community organizations within the area.

Unemployment offices are another option for those who have lost their jobs. The offices can connect job seekers with employment and training services partnered with state and local agencies and organizations. They can link unemployed people with apprenticeship programs and training types, such as:

  • Basic training, which includes obtaining a GED or strengthening math, reading and English skills
  • Vocational training, which offers preparation for skills needed for high-demand jobs
  • On-the-job training, which involves on-site teaching through an apprenticeship from a local business


Acting as a one-stop career stepping stone, unemployment offices also offer guidance on interviewing, how to properly form a resume and the best ways to search for a job. These facilities are there to assist the unemployed and help them land on their feet again.

Adult Career Education Tips

If money is an object for those who wish to return to college or vocational schools, federal and state tuition aid is available for displaced workers. The recent downturn in the economy should not be considered a factor in going back to school. Students can also continue to receive unemployment benefits as long as they are enrolled in classes. To help out prospective students, in February 2009, President Barack Obama signed a $787 billion economic stimulus, of which $1.7 billion is earmarked for adult employment services, including training programs.

Despite learning new skills through adult career education assistance, students may be in for a shock upon re-entering the job market.. Once students finish their training or educational requirements, they might not be able to secure jobs with comparable pay to their past careers. If they start an entry-level position in a new field, they probably will not receive as much money as they had in previous positions (especially if they held the position for many years). However, if students are able to land a job in their known field and have the training, certification and education required, they may have a better chance of securing a job, perhaps with higher pay.

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