Following up on “rage plumbing” and other acts of mightiness from last week, let’s talk about that Gain A Life thing. Fact is, it takes money to leave a cheater. It’s hard to Gain A Life without gaining a job. Maybe you have a job, or a fat settlement and today’s post doesn’t apply to you. I hope you’ll share this post anyway and get this information out there. The saddest letters I get are from people who feel too financially fucked to leave their cheaters. Fortunately, Chump Nation is one hell of a networking site. Kibble Free Mighty Me is guest blogging today on tech training. Do you need a Fuck Off Fund for your own personal liberation campaign? Have you stay-at-home-parented yourself into dependence and obsolescence? Are you sick of your dead-end job? Are you getting jack shit for child support? RETRAIN and be mighty. KFMM is going to tell you how. — Tracy
Dear Chump Nation:
Tracy will intermittently ask us Chumps to tell how we’re being mighty since having our worlds blow up. I mentioned in a post some time ago, I try to stay mighty by transferring my blocked love to teen mothers — a group that holds a special place in my heart. I know their struggles and fears, as I’m a grown teen mother. Today I work in technical education doing marketing and public relations, and have for almost 20 years. Tracy asked if I’d share some of what I tell these teen mothers as a way to assist any Chumps also looking for ways to earn financial independence.
As a teen parent, help can come in many forms when you feel alone, scared, and unemployable for the type of job you want. Sound familiar, Chumps? Like how we felt on D-Day? Sure, I can connect with these girls, but my teen mom story doesn’t actually help unless I can provide options for them to jumpstart their futures. The information I share with them also applies to Chumps, and especially for those who have yet to attend school, or complete their education.
I did the hard work after becoming a teen mom, but didn’t know until recently that I completed a tested formula for success. A research study published in 2008 by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy states that teen pregnancy could benefit families and society if:
1) The mother and the baby are both healthy
2) The child is prepared for school
3) The mother is educated and cares for her child
4) The mother becomes financially independent
Although I earned all the items in the list, it has only been because I fulfilled item number three, that the fourth item continues to play itself out in my life, and that alone is what saved me when I filed eight months after D-Day. Regardless of whether the ex sent monthly child support or not, I’ve been empowered through my education to take care of myself and my child, help with my little grandchild, and keep my home, car and sanity, all because I made the first investment in my education as a teen mom. In fact, I continued with an online master’s program 12 years after college while working full-time. Why? Because of the financial blessings I have experienced over the years just by doing item number three above. My education was also a non-negotiable during the divorce process; can’t divide that up! And, Chumps – it’s NEVER too late to go back to school.
One thing the teen moms and CN won’t hear me say is the word “easy.” It’s not. But neither was all that investment you did for — literally — nothing with those douchey cheaters, so it’s not as if you don’t already know what hard work is like. Only this time, your education or training investment can never be cheated away from you. Before we start, a small disclaimer. After 18 years in school PR and marketing, I know enough to provide info and recruit, but always call financial aid professionals at your local tech schools, colleges and universities for the most accurate info concerning funds, tech programs, and degrees.
Assuming that a high school education is in place, let’s start with college. Many of you may have finished, but for those who still have courses to complete, start by finding out what is needed to complete your degree. Learn what course numbers transfer (if attending a different college than where you began), what is tuition and misc fees, and learn about different ways you can pay. Many colleges and universities also have online courses now that could make your degree a reality, so first check with the college from where you have a transcript started. Some even let you custom build your degree to finish.
If finances are holding you back from finishing, simple online searches like “college scholarships single mother” brings up a wealth of options. Also know that the Federal Pell Grant typically asks for a last year’s tax return, so if you’ve had a recent divorce or separation, it’s a great time to search out all the scholarships now, and then get prepared financially and psychologically to finish your degree a year down the road. If you’ve been divorced for a while, then you already know your financial outlook, and it’s one hurdle down. If you personally served in the military and never took advantage of your VA benefits, call your local Veterans Administration office to find out how you can use it to start or finish college. Here are a few links to sites that come up on a simple “single-mom scholarship” search, but there are many, many more:
- fafsa.gov (Federal Pell Grant)
Additionally, employers may have an education enhancement program where they pay for a portion of your college degree program’s tuition and fees. Just ask! Mine paid 64 percent of my master’s.
Career & Technology Education (Tech School)
One of the biggest lies perpetuated within elementary and secondary education in the U.S. is that you have to go to college to be successful. Please don’t tell that to your kids! It’s too much pressure to get into college, and it’s not the truth. By 2025, 53 percent of all jobs in my state will only require an associate degree or an industry certification. Nineteen percent will require a bachelor’s degree, and five percent master’s or higher. Why? Because of the Skills Gap happening around the U.S. due to Baby Boomers retiring in huge numbers, without qualified workers to fill their jobs. Look here for the job outlook through 2030 in your state and wage information by jobs or industry: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Encourage your kids to explore free options for tech school while they’re in high school if it’s available in your state. Don’t get me wrong. I completed a lot of college, and it was necessary to work in my industry; however, what many don’t realize is that there is a huge and growing percentage of college grads who can’t find work and they are in massive debt with a degree that wasn’t their “golden ticket.” After many rejections, they find themselves at a tech school getting a completely different or complimentary skill-set to their degree, and industry certifications for in-demand jobs. Only then are they employable making more than minimum wage. I’ve seen it over-and-over again during my 18 years in technical education.
If you haven’t considered a technical education as a fast-track to employment and financial independence for you and your kids, you should, and here’s why:
- The tuition is often free for high school students, and for adults is a fraction of the expense of a four-year degree.
- Programs may be completed quickly for adults, like in 10 months. Example: my tech school has an 18-month Diagnostic Medical Sonography program for less than $4k. The Big 10 university in our backyard offers a four-year sonography degree program for $80,000ish (not kidding), but our students are at the same clinical sites with theirs, and they all earn the DMS credential and get jobs starting between $55-65k…Ermm…
- The training and the equipment and software taught is for in-demand jobs, leading to a recognized industry certification(s).
- Instructors usually have a big network of current industry advisors for their programs, which is how most students get their internships, and often leads to full-time employment after graduation.
- Tech schools measure positive placement rates of grads working in the industry for which they trained. You simply cannot ask a college to tell you how many of their music or sociology grads are employed IN their industry. (No shade to those degree holders! Just examples, but colleges don’t often help grads land jobs.)
- Some programs like LPN have agreements with local colleges or universities to fast-track LPN grads through an RN degree program so they finish in a few semesters.
- Combine tech school certifications with a college degree, and be even more employable.
Every corner of Oklahoma is covered by one of 29 tech schools in our CareerTech system. We offer traditional trades programs like welding, auto service, carpentry, diesel mechanic, and cosmetology, but also programs like LPN, legal office, medical coding/assistant, programming and software development, aviation mechanic, app development, prosthetics technician, graphic design and more. None of these jobs train for minimum wage positions, and most programs are covered by Pell Grant, and many by VA Benefits.
I’m not just talking the talk. My daughter has a 4.3 GPA, takes AP classes, is in band and is an athlete. She also takes computer aided design and drafting for her last two years of high school, free at our local tech school. The starting wage for a certified drafting technician in our state is $16 to $37 per hour. No college. Her internship starts soon. She wants to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering in college, but doesn’t want to work fast food while she’s doing it. And, just in-case scholarships don’t pay all $80K of the degree she wants, she’ll be financially independent before, during, and after college. This includes if she ever has her own D-Day, which I pray she never does, but if yes? She’ll financially be able to immediately break free. That’s empowerment, and it’s pretty badass.
Do online searches for “technical education” or “career and technology education” in your state. Not all states are set-up like Oklahoma, but please do your homework. Example: my school’s LPN program costs less than $4k because we’re 88 percent funded by taxpayer dollars (non-profit). A for-profit technical school up the road from us charges $18k for a similar LPN program. Same clinical sites, same LPN certification at the end. You’ll know if they’re for-profit if they constantly run TV ads (that’s expensive!), and students pay for it.
Do your homework until you find the right education option for YOU. Then keep doing your homework until you’re done with school. It’s totally worth it, and every Chump in CN has already done one of the hardest things on this planet: lived through D-Day(s) and have come out, or are still emerging, in a mighty way.
For all of our beloved international Chumps, PLEASE share what you know about the technical education programs in your countries to help other Chumps move into action. Education — regardless of our country of origin — is the key to financial independence for us and our children. My father was in the U.S. military and I grew up in Germany for a while, back when it was West Germany. Their technical education program is amazing, but I don’t know any of the ins-and-outs of how it works. Let’s info-share how it all works, friends!
Thanks for letting me share, Tracy! (((Hugs))) to every Chump – you’ve got this! <3