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Monday, April 16, 2012
At 56, Kiraly is earning a second bachelor s degree and calls himself a "re-freshman."
Daniel Kiraly lived in his van, parked outside of the temporary job where he worked the second shift.
That winter, five years ago, it seemed as though his electrical engineering degree -- and his industry -- had ultimately betrayed him.
Now, at 56, Kiraly -- a 1986 University of Colorado graduate who worked as an engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
StorageTek and US West before being laid off and becoming homeless -- is starting anew.
He's enrolled at CU and earning a second bachelor's degree, this time in "International Spanish for the Professions" with the intention of applying to CU-Denver for a master's in international business. He calls himself a "re-freshman."
CU and state community colleges are seeing an increase in the number of adults returning to college to retrain for a competitive workforce.
Colleges and universities have served as a refuge for many adults during the economy's colossal collapse. Community colleges are busting
at their seams as adults return to school to train for new jobs. At CU, continuing education programs that accommodate career-changers are flourishing. Education officials say the return to college is a common response to recessions.
Beginning in 2008, when the economy slumped, the number of degree-seeking adults began ticking upward at CU. In fall 2009, there were 1,947 students on the flagship campus who fit into the 25-to-30 age bracket, a 14 percent increase over two years that outpaced overall enrollment growth. This past school year, CU enrolled another 676 students who are 31 or older. A promise inspires Kiraly to earn degree.
Now Kiraly lives on the campus in a one-bedroom family housing unit, protests tuition hikes and sits in the front row of his classes.
But there have been hurdles since he started working toward his degree in 2008. Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree aren't eligible for Pell grants, and he's read that employers are growing reluctant to hire people in their 50s. "I'm not ready to give up and bounce from temp job to temp job," Kiraly said.
Read Full Article at:By Brittany Anas Camera Staff Writer DailyCamera.com
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