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Free Program Offers Training For Workers Needing New Career After Pandemic Layoffs

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah – A new training program is signing up workers who are looking for a new career after the pandemic led to so many layoffs.

The free program is not only for people who were recently furloughed or laid off, but also those moms and dads who are trying to get back into the workforce to support their families.

With the unemployment rate hovering near five percent in Utah, the program targets industries that need people now — like trucking.

“The nation is hurting for truck drivers,” said Leon McElprang, an associate professor at Utah State University’s campus in Price.

Associate Professor Leon McElprang.

“People that lose work or become unemployed, we can have them back in usually one semester’s worth of time,” said McElprang.

He was excited to learn recently that USU would offer that free training, with help from federal CARES Act funding.

“We’ve never had nothing like this really happen, so it’s pretty commendable that they’re putting it towards helping people get back on their feet and going and I’m glad to be a part of it,” he said.

Trucking is just one piece of the program. Several certificates are being offered online and in-person, along with 27 courses at Salt Lake Community College campuses.

“This is a really big deal for us to really reach out into the community to help Utah residents and really just get the word out there that this funding is available. And we really want to take advantage of this,” said Jennifer Sparks, marketing manager at Salt Lake Community College.

Jennifer Sparks, marketing manager at Salt Lake Community College.

Amanda Hollingsworth said the program at Utah State University helped her, but in a different way.

“They’ve lost jobs. Their spouses have lost jobs and they need a way to get out into the workforce,” she said.

Hollingsworth teaches medical assistants at Davis Tech and said a course in online instruction will help her better prepare her students.

Amanda Hollingsworth

“I have been really impressed with the students that have come in and that have all had that same very vulnerable moment where they’re needing to re-invent themselves,” she said.

SLCC will offer those free courses to 400 to 500 students. People can sign up for SLCC classes here and USU classes here.

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