Benedictine offers unemployed students free tuition

June 16, 2011 2:50:14 PM PDT
A Chicago-area university is lending a helping hand to the unemployed by offering them free tuition.

The unemployment rate in Illinois went up in May. It rose two-tenths of 1 percent to 8.9 percent, marking the first monthly increase in about a year-and-a-half. The national unemployment rate was up slightly to 9.1 percent.

The dilemma for some job seekers may be the need for more education. More training an additional degree may be the competitive edge needed. But, when there is no income, trying to go back to school can be near impossible. Some local programs are offering a solution.

Whether a lay off or under employment pushed them in this direction, individuals gathered at the Career Transitions Workshop at workNet DuPage Career Center are looking for help getting to their dream jobs, and in some cases that means going back to school.

"It requires money and time, which right now if you need money that comes first," said Sosi Brodjian.

"It's financially challenging, because then you are now in charge of everything-- you have to pay for everything," said Richard Kerrill.

The career center offers guidance as well as tuition scholarships.

"This is very good timing to offer this kind of help," said Gulistan Shahab.

Some local institutions are taking notice of the job outlook and adjusting their admissions.

Benedictine University in Lisle had already frozen tuition and created a program for students' whose parents were laid off. Starting in the fall, jobseekers may qualify for free tuition at the university.

"This was one of the things we were hearing, people who could not find work or had recently lost their jobs and can't afford to improve their situation," said Benedictine's Phil Brozynski.

The university's spokesman says their Illinois back-to-work program may offer a solution to those stuck in a job search.

"This program is designed to help those people who have been out of work for a long time, who can't afford an education, we're going to make it possible that they can," said Brozynski.

Back at workNet DuPage Career Center, Courtney Drummond is hoping to qualify for any tuition assistance. Laid off two months ago, she is eager to make the most of this time between jobs.

"It's amazing and a blessing to have anything to help in our job search and make us more marketable. It's definitely a great thing," said Drummond.

The program at Benedictine University begins in the fall. The university expects to offer 200 students a free tuition.

For more information about that program or the workNet DuPage Career Center go to www.worknetdupage.org/job-seekers/job-seeker-services.php or call the enrollment department at (630) 829-6300.


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