Thursday, August 6, 2009

Geeked Up On The Fast Track

Are you 5 or 50? Either way it's back to school time! Retraining programs are popping up to teach old dogs new tricks. What we don't need: more auto workers. What we do need: more nurses. In Detroit, tuition-free programs are packed to retrain auto workers to be nurses, and there is a waiting list! Michigan is moving away from being a manufacturing state to leading the nation with its No Worker Left Behind program.

Green jobs and technology positions are in demand SO, duh, that is the emphasis of the new training programs. "Geeked up and excited" about retraining to be a Chemical Processing Technician says one older learner. Laid off, 53, and excited about learning to write and edit specific computer programs.

The same learning strategies work for older learners as for younger ones. Break your learning and study time into small segments. Practice. Go over and over the material. Use hands-on as much as possible to apply new knowledge to the workplace. Talk to others about what you are learning to reinforce it in your mind.

Michigan, home of the automotive industry, had to do something with unemployment at 14.5%. According to the AARP Bulletin this need birthed the Fast Start Program through community colleges and is providing "just in time workers" for the exploding solar industry and nursing fields.

So learning really is life long. And did you notice the older workers are not saying "poor me"? They say they are "excited". You CAN teach an old dog new tricks and it can be a lot of fun. If YOU are laid off look into ways to retrain for something in demand. You, too, might be excited and find a whole new life.


  1. I love this post! I happen to think we start dying when we stop learning, and I've always wished for a real effort to retrain these people for real jobs, not just try to sidestep them into a similar position. That seems to me to be saying "We know you're not capable of being anything but a assembly line worker..." People have so much more potential than any one job could ever use.
    Personally I'm thinking of trading in my Elem Ed degree for a Masters in English. I love my dinky dudes, but I've always wanted to teach history or English. I'm a little worried about job openings for someone who will be 53 when she graduates, though. Everybody else my age is retiring, or wishing they could. The good thing is I don't need tenure or benefits. But can I get a job??? I'm just not sure. Anyway, thanks for the interesting post. TTYL
    BTW -- Please don't feel you have to follow my blog if it's not up your alley. I understand.

  2. Hi Teri,
    I am from Mathy,Techy,Artsy Fartsy...sometimes known as Mrs.W, or The mathster, or Sandra, who knows. Just wanted you to know me. I am following your blog too. Re becoming a high school English teacher, if you can coach something, that will help immensely when trying to get a job. There are lots of English teachers and it can be difficult but they are always looking for good coach/teachers....consider maybe volleyball, swimming, track...or sponsor the newspaper...something extra that stands out. Do what you love most!

    PS: I am unable to leave a comment on your blog. It will not give me space to copy the "funky letters". Sorry I can't make it work so I'm commenting here! I do like your sight. I am a trivial reader for sheer entertainment...lightweight novels and mags....and the newspaper and I skim self help books as well.

  3. Thanks for the note. I'll go shut the letters of it's causing probs. You;re coaching idea was great, unfortunately I wouldn't qualify. I am a writer, that might help in some manner, I hadn't thought of a school newspaper, but bringing something extra to the table makes a lot of sense.


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