Earlier this week I got a call from Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services. All the requested medical records had come in, and I had been officially approved to receive their services. I was expecting that to take three months, not the month that it actually took.
So now I have an appointment on the 22nd of November to determine what my plan of attack is going to be. I really want to go back to school, but I don’t know if TWS-VRS will cover the expenses. However, my case manager told me of a situation where they not only paid for someone’s education, but their living expenses while at school since their chosen field of study required them to move to another town to attend classes. This gives me hope.
I would prefer not to move, so I’ve been looking at degree programs at Austin Community College-Northridge, which is literally down the road from my apartment. They offer one program that interests me, Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design. It’s an associate’s degree as opposed to a vocational certificate, but it looks like the typical entry-level positions require only an associate’s degree, and the pay is solid, plus it’s mostly desk work, which will be good for my back. The outlook isn’t splendid, as they expect a 3% reduction in available jobs between 2014 and 2024, mostly due to more efficient work processes due in large part to improved software, so I’m a little apprehensive of getting a degree and then floundering trying to find a job locally. But the market here in Texas is better than most of the rest of the country, and the pay scale is slightly higher than the national average, although it’s the oil industry in Houston and Dallas that’s skewing those numbers. I called the college and requested someone to call me back with more information. I plan on following that up with an email by the middle of next week if I haven’t heard anything, followed eventually with an actual visit to campus to try and get some time with one of the advisers to get some more information about the career and the program.
I did something similar to this at one point in time – I was a well planner for a small engineering firm that was eventually folded into Halliburton. I enjoyed the work, but the atmosphere was very toxic to me and I went on short-term disability to learn how to cope with the situation. By the time I made it back, the merger had happened, and my position had been considered superfluous and so I was laid off.
I’m working on how to deal with toxic environments in therapy, so hopefully that will coincide with the end of this degree program, if it can come to fruition. Keep your fingers crossed that my questions are answered to my satisfaction and this works out to be something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.
One more step toward the goal …