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Workers scramble to learn new skills

February 3, 2009 10:00 by jllorens

(Anita Bruzzese, GANNETT NEWS SERVICE) Because many businesses are stalling in this difficult economic climate and laying off workers at all levels, employees are scrambling to find training as fast as possible to fill open positions in such job-rich industries as technology and health care.

That’s why many are turning to vocational-technology schools or even apprenticeship programs, finding they can earn good salaries after a few years— or less— of training.

“It’s a whole new world out there,” says Dr. Laura Wyant, chair of the division of human development and allied technology for Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. “People know they need to get the skill set that employers are interested in.”

For example, vo-tech schools typically offer training in fields such as welding or auto repair— and still do— but the coursework has moved into more professional fields such as dental or pharmacy technicians and paralegals. These jobs can typically offer salaries in the high mid-$40,000 range and have tens of thousands of openings across the country.

“Right now, we are saturated with people who have business degrees,” Wyant says. “As the workplace changes, we’re going to see more professionals needing technical assistance than they have in the past.”

At the same time, Wyant says “more than ever” mid-career professionals are going back to vo-tech or community colleges to learn new skills because they can’t find work in their current industry

(Read entire story.)

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Categories: News | The Economy

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