Economic Downturn Signals Good Time to Retool Through Education

Economic Downturns Can Signal
Ideal Time for Higher Education Pursuit

The nation’s lingering economic cloud may yet have a silver lining for those who have been impacted by lost jobs, reduced hours and corporate downsizing measures.

“Traditionally, during times of economic downturn, people return to school to retool or reinvent themselves for a changing job market. Universities have always been pivotal to making this possible,” said Cassandra Wheeler, Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) executive director of career services.

Among the major growth areas for employment are nursing and post-secondary teachers, Wheeler noted.

“Nationally there have been over 34,000 postings for nursing jobs in the past two months. Between now and 2014, 703,000 registered nurses will be needed, along with 524,000 post-secondary teachers. Another area of growth is accounting. All are areas TAMIU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs,” she said.

Wheeler said other occupations of fastest growth are in the technological arena and include: Network systems, data communications analysts and computer software engineers.

“Pursuing higher education often becomes an attractive option for people affected by job loss. While Laredo has not been locally impacted by large-scale job losses such as Dell Inc.’s decision to cut almost 9,000 jobs or Citigroup’s recent announcement to lay off 52,000, there are some short and long-term ramifications that will be felt here in related industries, despite Laredo’s relative economic vitality,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler also noted that many who have become accustomed to job security realize that today’s headlines indicate that security can indeed be fleeting. As a consequence, many are considering returning to higher education, often targeting a graduate degree.

“A graduate degree is basically re-investment education – getting a graduate degree bolsters relevance to the market and can advance and further secure a career in the long run,” she explained.
TAMIU’s four Colleges offer over 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees presented by a gifted faculty from all over the world. Aggressive financial aid and assistance programs are in place, as are internship and Study Abroad opportunities, she said.

And if you find yourself unemployed, Wheeler offers six steps to future success that can be achieved locally.

“Go back to school to receive a bachelors, master degree or enhance your marketability in the following areas:

  1. Get a degree in education, nursing, physical therapy, engineering or business, all of which can be found at TAMIU.
  2. To be better poised for promotion, federal agents should acquire a masters degree in criminal justice, an online program offered at TAMIU.
  3. To enhance skill sets, take courses through TAMIU’s Office of Special Programs in computer skills, basic accounting or paralegal studies.
  4. Enroll in a foreign language course through TAMIU’s Office of International Studies at TAMIU.
  5. If you have masters degree, apply at a community college or university to teach an undergraduate course.
  6. Stay positive: Enhance yourself now through higher education so that you will possess greater advantage in a competitive marketplace after the economy stabilizes,” she concluded.

TAMIU’s Spring Semester 2009 begins Monday, Jan. 12.

Registration is currently underway online at tamiu.edu

Late registration will end Jan. 16. University offices open Monday, Jan. 5 for full services.

TAMIU’s Office of Career Services will host its Annual Career Expo at TAMIU on Thursday, Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. - 3:00pm at the Student Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to all.

For more information, contact Wheeler at the Office of Career Services, 326.4473 or visit offices in Student Center 114 or click on tamiu.edu/affairs/career

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu