Jobless on LI Part III: Life after layoffs

WYANDANCH - After spending many years in a career, it's tough to imagine changing gears and starting over in an entirely new field.Yet experts say many Long Islanders who've been laid off are doing just that. Faced with a tough job market, unemployed people are going back to school so they can find jobs in different fields.When 37-year-old Wyandanch resident Bernadine Waller lost her job with a major financial company, she was inspired to start fresh. "I went to Bible study and my pastor was talking about reinventing yourself and going back to school and I was like, 'Ding!' A light bulb went off," she says. Waller decided to follow her passion for psychology. She's now an adjunct professor of psychology at Adelphi University and is working toward her PhD. Rick Polansky, supervisor of adult evening programs at Nassau BOCES, says since 2008 there has been an increase in adult enrollment in fields such as medical billing, health services and welding. "I'm positive we can attribute that to people losing jobs, or are fearful of losing jobs," Polansky says. While it may seem intimidating, Waller says joblessness can be an opportunity. "Get out there, try new and different things," she advises. "Follow your passion."Jobless on LI: A News 12 special seriesJobless on LI Part I: Unemployed in an unforgiving economyJobless on LI Part II: Boomerang Generation

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