UW–Madison has resources to help displaced workers

chalkboard with "un" crossed out in unemployed

When Oscar Mayer announced the closing of its local headquarters, I mourned the loss of 1,000 jobs. But I feel confident that the displaced workers can land on their feet, given the range of programs available in the Madison area for job training and job searching.

Jeffrey S. Russell
Jeffrey S. Russell: As economic disruptions become more common, institutions must be agile to prepare our workforce for success.

I’ve seen such programs get results at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies, which constantly evolves in response to changing needs. As economic disruptions become more common, institutions must be agile to prepare our workforce for success.

Oscar Mayer employees concerned about their future can start at Continuing Studies’ Adult Career and Special Student Services, where our counselors offer free career and educational planning. These are the same experts who publish monthly “Career Corner” columns in the Wisconsin State Journal, providing practical advice to job seekers. It’s all part of the Wisconsin Idea: using the university’s expertise to serve the larger community.

John Vander Meer took advantage of Adult Career and Special Student Services when he lost his job during the recession. He joined our weekly Job Search Support Group and enrolled in a career-planning workshop.

John’s resourcefulness paid off. After focusing his search, he landed a communications position with the Wisconsin Health Care Association.

“I felt very fortunate to have the ability to work with capable career counselors who care passionately about helping people find rewarding employment,” he says.

For those who already have a bachelor’s degree, the pdc.wisc.edu website showcases courses and certificate programs that can be a stepping stone to new careers. They’re offered online, on evenings and weekends, and in other flexible formats so adults can learn new skills while keeping up with work and life demands.

Continuing Studies is only one of several local resources for area residents who need help shifting gears in our unpredictable economy. Whether it’s Madison College or the state’s Department of Workforce Development, help is here. Let’s spread the word so those who need it can move on with their careers.

This article originally appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal.

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