It's a brave new world out there for the state line’s recent college grads, but it's a world with few job openings. For many dislocated workers who turned to college to get ahead in a grueling economy. It can be even more frustrating.
Ruby Drayton can now add her Associates Degree to a shelf bearing her kids college diplomas. The mother of three returned to school after being laid off at Motorola. Armed with new skills, she's job searching again.
"I'm telling you, it's really scary. I'm willing to get anything right now. I hope my degree comes through," says Ruby.
Drayton is one of thousands of older workers returning to college looking for an edge, but it could be a double edged sword.
"I definitely have the experience but like you say I'm going to have the age (factor). It depends on if they're wanting somebody more mature or wanting people younger to fit them into the corporation," ruby adds.
Joe Huggins advises dislocated workers like Ruby Drayton.
"A lot of people are looking to pick up new skills. Some people are looking to retrain into a totally new field," says Joe.
Huggins says it's never a bad idea to get additional training but that doesn't mean instant employment.
If the economy doesn't turn around soon, many college graduates, traditional or not could be headed to the unemployment office. The Rock Valley college dislocated worker program helps more than 800 workers a year. Huggins says more than half of those chose to participate in some form of education or retraining.
Studies show many recent college grads are also flocking to volunteer programs like the Peace Corps or Teach America.