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.
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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.