U.S. Steel’s recent announcement that it will lay off up to 200 employees at its Great Lakes Works facility has the area and the industry on edge. Because the news comes amid an overall slowdown in the steel industry that includes sharp declines in steels prices and weakening demand, this most recent blow has hit particularly hard. If you’re a steelworker who is a bit suspect of the “temporarily” in the announcement of the production halt, it may be time to take your considerable skills and rethink your future career path.
In the meantime, here are a few ways to get through this most recent layoff:
Apply for Unemployment Benefits
If you’ve been directly affected by the layoff, immediately contact Michigan's Unemployment Insurance program to apply for benefits. Funded through unemployment taxes, the program will provide you with temporary income. You can contact the department online, by telephone, or in-person through one of its 13 locations throughout the state. Payments can take time to process, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll receive an income.
Revise Your Household Budget
A realistic budget is more important than ever in the face of looming layoffs. Even if you haven’t been impacted directly by the layoff, unemployment rates that creep up can have a ripple effect on the local economy. Financial advisors urge you to have a nest egg that can cover six months to a year’s worth of living expenses. At a minimum, take a look at your income and expenditures and be certain to live within your means. Start saving now for that rainy day so you can weather the storm.
Access Your Network
It’s also time to look at your professional portfolio, resume, and network. Get active on LinkedIn and start paying attention to jobs and fields that might be a match to the skills you already possess. Connect with past employers, coworkers, and friends. Even if you have a job, LinkedIn is a great resource. You can find out what’s going on in different industries, keep up to date with job postings, even get an idea of what you’re worth in the job market. Find out what skills you have and what skills you may need.
Plan for the Future
Many of your skills as a steelworker are likely transferrable to other professions. Do you like to work with your hands and your brains? With booming construction throughout the state, there are many options for hardworking men and women with the right knowledge and skills. Now may be the time to consider career training. The construction industry is thriving, and Michigan is one of the top employers of HVAC technicians. The field is expected to see continued growth—at 13.7%--through 2026.2
Acquire the Skills You’ll Need for HVAC
If a career as an HVAC Technician sounds like something you might be interested in, check out the HVAC-R Program at Career Quest Learning Centers. In as little as one year, you can prepare for a career in the HVAC industry. We’ll teach you how to:
- Install, maintain, and repair residential and commercial heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems
- Understand and apply the principles, practices, and uses of basic electricity and gas related to HVAC systems
- Conduct field inspections of mechanical systems, including Michigan Mechanical Code
- Perform sheet metal fabrication and installation
- Read and interpret blueprints
Discover your full potential in a rewarding new career. We offer HVAC-R at our Lansing campus. Fill out the form on this page and we’ll be in touch to discuss your options.