People who lost jobs because of the COVID-19 switch careers to stay afloat

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 10:22 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Ben Ferring spent most of the last ten years working in kitchens.

Earlier this year, he was working at a local restaurant.

“I was a cook, so I was hired on about a year after they opened,” he said. I” did four years there and then I got laid off in July.”

With the restaurant business being one of the most impacted by the pandemic, he knew it was time to pivot.

“I was looking for a quicker out more than a longer term one,” Ferring explained. “I did not want to go for a two years associate or go for a bachelor’s someplace or something.”

That is how he landed at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and its four-month long Short Term Certificate Program.

He graduated from the Welding program and is going in for a job interview soon.

Ferring said, though, the road to get there has not been easy.

“There is definitely insecurities because I feel like I am reentering the labor market all over again,” he confessed. “I am scrapping all of the work experience I have accrued over the past decade for something else.”

Wendy Mihm-Herold at NICC said their goal is to try and help other people like Ferring to make a smooth transition.

“I would not tell you that our numbers are in floodgates, but I will tell you that there is absolutely individuals out there and we are really encouraging them right now as to really get them in our door,” she said.

Mihm-Herold said they are focusing their efforts on programs like welding and warehouse tech.

“Our initiative right now is to focus on the manufacturing area where they are able to go through training and also be employed at the same time, so they are earning and learning at the same time,” she explained.

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