As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation, many businesses shut down, leaving millions of workers, including college students, unemployed and struggling financially. But for unemployed workers in Utah, there may be hope for the future.
The Learn & Work in Utah program aims to offer training to unemployed residents and those struggling during the pandemic. Students in the Utah System of Higher Education, which includes most two- and four-year schools in the state, are eligible for participation.
Participating schools select the number and type of programs, which are designed to be short-term and provide some quick, financial relief. Applicants can choose from a broad range of career areas.
At Salt Lake Community College, the program serves students who are unemployed, furloughed or seeking opportunities for career enhancement due to the negative economic impact of COVID-19. Those who qualify receive the opportunity to obtain skills that will help them find jobs in health care, business, information technology, energy, manufacturing and advanced materials, or public safety and transportation, along with professional development training.
The courses will be offered in an online or hybrid format to lessen the chance of transmitting COVID-19.
A representative from the School of Applied Technology department said the program was designed to help any individual that has been impacted by COVID to learn a skill and get back into the workforce. The representative also said students typically finish in a few months.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration also provides funding for the program, though federal support is expected to end Dec. 1. Students are encouraged to enroll before this date, though the program will still run through the spring. Once enrolled, students should expect to be done by June.
Zac Petit, an SLCC student, said he’d benefit from the program right now.
“I lost my job back in March. I can barely even afford my tuition, much less my rent and bills,” Petit said. “Something like this could be good for people who are in the same situation as me.”
Visit the SLCC Learn & Work in Utah page to learn more about the available programs.