Former manufacturing employee gets new career at 53

Report by Colleen Wells - email | bio

TOLEDO (WTOL) - It is not just the auto industry facing deep cuts. Thousands are without work. Even more are worried about their jobs.

This economy has more people hitting the books. When times are tough, many people think about going back to school.

Owens Community College is holding its graduation Friday night, December 12.

We had the chance to meet one man who will walk the stage leaving fears about the economy behind.

As 53-year-old Jeff Burnside makes his way on stage, his smile is difficult to miss. He's clearly a man excited about his future -- one he's drastically changing with a degree in nursing.

Jeff has decades of experience in the manufacturing industry. He tells us he knew three years ago that the line of work would see tough times. Enough that Jeff believed he had to get out of the industry. "I started thinking about it a long time ago cause the shops kept falling apart... bankruptcies, moving out of the country, or whatever. But I resolved to do it at 50."

As he takes pictures with his fellow honor students, many 30 years his junior, Jeff says he's no longer uneasy about his job outlook even in a tough economy.

He's heading into the medical field. "That was the goal. It's exhausting to constantly worry about whether or not you're going to have a paycheck next week."

Jeff adds, "School is always a good thing to do when the economy is down. If you're not working, you might as well go to school and get prepared for the future."

Bill Ivoska with Owens says the community college is starting to see enrollments rise as the economy falls. He says there is financial help for students worried about paying the bills.

Although Jeff admits getting to this point has not been easy -- balancing school, family, and work -- he says its certainly worth it.