Life After A Layoff

Last week 30 of the nearly 400 laid off Lands' End employees started searching for a new job.

They're not alone in Wisconsin. Something similar happened to Larry Jackson.

"I worked 28 years making automotive batteries and I was faced with a plant closing and thrown into a 'what do you do at this age?'"

He was 47 years old at the time. Two years away from retirement with a full pension. And 10 credits away from an associates degree.

"I started looking into radiological stuff and saw there's a big demand in the health care field," he says.

In fact, 15 of the top 30 fastest growing jobs in the state are in health care. That's in part because hospitals anticipate a worker shortage in the next five years.

Judy Warmuth of the Wisconsin Hospital Association says, "They went into health care when women didn't have a lot of choices. They could be a librarian or a teacher or a nurse, so there's a bubble between 45 and 55 they're getting a little old to do some of the work, which is pretty physically intensive. They're working on retirement."

She says layoffs pose an opportunity for people to retrain in a different career field.

"The great strategy is to find a second occupation in an industry that's growing and has a sound future like health care," says Warmuth, "When you make a second commitment you're in a job that has a future and health care jobs have that kind of future."

A future that Jackson has turned into a reality.

"I look at it as a new challenge," he says of his job as a radiological technician at Upland Hills Health, "I really enjoy this. I love the patient interaction."

He says it's never too late to start over.

"You have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with life but do your research about what you want to get into. If you can apply yourself you can climb the mountain; it's achievable."

Warmuth says in 10 years health care will be the largest employer in Wisconsin.

Thursday night we'll go in-depth on job retraining and talk to some adults about life as students.

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