Friday, March 28, 2008

Lessons from the Unemployed

A few weeks back, I went to a Test Drive of the Project Management course at the St Edward's Professional Education Center. I overheard another attendee talking about funding to the course. I was pleasantly surprised that there is such an entity - WorkSource.

So off I went to research WorkSource and indeed they could fund the course, if I was eligible. So how does one become eligible? Two ways:

1. You have to be a "Dislocated Worker". (ie, you should be receiving Unemployment Insurance) OR...
2. You have to be "Economically Disadvantaged". (ie, you should be receiving Food Stamps)

I checked the rules on both for Texas and immediately ruled out the 2nd one since I do not qualify. This is despite encouragements from the WorkSource coordinator who said the Deparment of Human Services would probably give me an amount that is "retarded" - something like $10. Hmmm, tempting but it is not right to go this route.

I pursued the 1st one since the TX rules showed that:
"If you quit to move with your husband or wife, you may be able to receive benefits after a disqualification of 6 to 25 weeks. This is a disqualification of both time and money, because we must subtract the number of disqualified weeks from your total benefits."

So, I first called TX WorkForce - but since I have not worked in TX yet and all my previous income was in ID, they adviced me to file my claim in ID. So I called ID Works and filed my claim...which eventually got declined since my "reason for leaving was personal in nature and did not arise from any aspect of the work she was performing. It cannot be concluded that claimant quit with good cause connected with the employment." In other words, I quit voluntarily (instead of being layed off or losing my job without any fault of my own or something like that). I guessed that this was going to be the decision since Idaho is currently bearing the brunt of the Micron lay-offs, so how could I compete with that? "Unfortunately" for me, ID does not have the same rules as TX as I mentioned above.

I did not stop there...I emailed the course instructor and the St Edwards course coordinator for possible attendance to the course in exchange to temporary work. Course instructor could not help though since all the administration and money goes to St Edwards. As for St Edwards, they had "no opening" and the only thing they could recommend is to get a loan. (What? And get indebted to some bank? Dave Ramsey does not like that :) )

Bottomline, no funding for me for the Project Management course.

So I sent the course instructor another email saying:
"Although going to class is great, I believe though that there are other ways of learning/improving on project management skills.

So... I'm looking for opportunities to improve my project management skills - actual projects to work on with coaching/mentoring on the side. I know you mentioned during the Test Drive session that you prefer certified people to work with you. However if you do have some projects that you need extra hands to work on them, perhaps you can tap me. :)

Still waiting for his response but I am not holding my breath... if he does get in touch, that will be swell!

Meanwhile, my goal within April is to polish my resume towards the PMP cert application, join the PMI Austin and self-study towards the exam. My tentative target for taking the Exam is May.


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