Government still offers a job-training program

February 22, 2014 

A recent letter to the editor told of one woman's ability to recover from a layoff in 1990. Back then, she said, the "Dislocated Worker Program" provided her with money for tuition, books and fees to be retrained in a new career.

The writer applauded the "worthwhile help from the government" that allowed her to become a nurse and regain her position as a taxpaying citizen.

But she concluded, "Sadly, today's administration seems to have overlooked the fishing pole in favor of the fish." Not true!

The type of program that gave her a leg up in 1990 exists today right here in Manatee County, throughout Florida and in the rest of the nation. It's part of the federal Workforce Investment Act.

WIA was approved during the Clinton administration and continues today under President Obama. It is offered through CareerSource Florida (formerly Suncoast Workforce), 1112 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton, phone 941-714-7449.

WIA helped me when I was laid off after 30-plus years in newspapers. That was a profession I had hoped would carry me to retirement.

When I entered WIA in 2009, there were eligibility requirements, rules and hoops to jump through. A quick check of the website shows similar rules today.

One stipulation taxpayers should appreciate is that WIA only pays for training for in-demand jobs.

Health care was and is in demand in this area. I chose the optometric assisting program at Manatee Technical Institute. The nine-month course, taught by a professional in the field, offered an excellent background, several externships and allowed me, at age 60, to land a job with an ophthalmology practice.

So, to dispel any misconceptions, under today's administration this type of "fishing pole" is still available to the unemployed.

Chris Kotchi


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