Reinventing yourself in the job market

By CJ Cassidy - bio | email

If you lost your job last year you were probably one of thousands of Missourians who filed for unemployment.

But there are quite a few survivors of the recession.

The people Heartland News spoke with had to re-invent themselves to get back in the game after they were laid off, and as it turns out there are some jobs that are more sought after than others.

Two years ago Paul Valleroy never thought he would be taking a dummy's temperature, but in his second year at nursing school, he's already looking forward to working on people.

"I had done factory work for 20 years and then to come into this," said Valleroy.  "It's a lot more critical, more extensive training and education.  Just a whole different world."

Gretchen Morse with the Workforce Investment Board reaches out to folks like Valleroy who suddenly find themselves without a job.

She points out staying at the top of your class would go a long way because nursing jobs are among the most sought after in Missouri.

"Ultimately 80 percent of people who go into training go into the medical field," she said.

She's also seen a change in the types of job seekers.

"With the layoffs our region has faced we are seeing that people 40 years of age and higher going to new fields and new areas of employment."

Morse says older, displaced workers come with their own sets of doubts.

"I think the fear of the unknown, is this really going to work for me? How am I going to do this for their family? Is this new occupation going to sustain wages to support their family?"

Melissa Criddle remembers those fears all too well especially since she wanted to go into the business field, which is also considered highly competitive.

"It was like having to start all over again at the bottom and I did," Criddle said.  "I headed back to school."

Criddle worked for the Dana Corporation in Cape Girardeau as a heat treat technician for more than ten years.  For her, switching gears and learning the ropes came with a price.

"I sacrificed a lot of just mom time with the children," she said.  "Supper wasn't a four course meal.  It might have been just a sandwich, but the kids were still fed.  I gave up stuff on weekends to study and succeed at it."

Criddle now works as an Administrative Assistant at Metro Business College, and says all that time she put in eventually paid off.

"If you put your mind to it, you can do it," she said.

Paul Valleroy agrees.  He spends most evenings cramming for exams in his basement with other classmates, relying on his wife Diana to pay the bills.

"You have to stay positive because when they are down they need you to bring them back up," Diana said.

"It takes a lot of people around you knowing to ask for help, knowing to buckle down and do it," Paul said.

He expects to graduate from nursing school by December.

If you would like to figure out what some of Missouri's most popular jobs are click on the links below:

2006-2016 Career Grades: Navigating Missouri's Top Jobs

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