The closure of the Fargo, ND HERE (Navteq) office kicked in a couple of Federal programs – Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Trade Act (TRA) provide for up to two years of tuition and a weekly stipend while in school.
The option of going back to school was my fall back plan in case I wasn’t able to find a local job that I liked. Going back to school was not my choice of options, but it was there if needed.
With the availability of tuition and the “stipend” it made sense to go back to school. With a limit of two years I looked for a two year degree program and found several that would work with my background and work history.
If I had been willing to relocate or drive for over an hour each way I could have accepted several jobs. As August rolled around and time was getting short for registering I decided to take the plunge and apply for the course I had selected. After all the hoops were jumped through I was officially enrolled in college for a two year AAS degree in Network Administration and Security,
Network administration and security had been part of my life earlier in my career. Once I graduate I will have a degree in the IT field and this should help with the job search.
It is interesting going back to school after so long. Taking courses in a field that I have already spent so many years working in makes the classes fairly easy. At the campus I am on there are a few people I worked with at HERE/Navteq, it’s nice to see them and occasionally have them in a class.
The way the government benefits work allow me to work to a limited degree and supplement the amount I get from the “stipend”. With the “stipend” I don’t have to work and I can concentrate on my education, although it just pays the bills.
While I’m not learning a whole lot that is new at the moment I am enjoying school. I started a paid tutoring position, at the request of an instructor, for ten hours a week I get to help other students with their IT courses.