University College Puts the ‘Work’ in Workforce Development
January 31, 2012
As vice president of operations for an electronics company, Ray Leczynski enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. But in the early 2000s, jobs in his industry began to be shipped out of the country. Businesses went up for sale or folded.
Soon Leczynski found himself a statistic: downsized and out of work in his 40s, and needing to find a way to get back on his feet. Realizing he would probably not find work in electronics again, he decided to explore his options.
Leczynski learned of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program offered through the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The TAA would help him pursue an education if he could provide proof that his job was lost to foreign trade, working with education providers to provide access and retraining for those out of work. This can include enhancement of existing skills or entry into entirely new fields for career changers.
“I decided to explore accounting as a career,” he says. “My daughter had her UMass degree in it and I enjoyed the work, but I was unsure how to go about it.”
Leczynski applied for and was accepted to the MBA program at UMass Boston for a master’s degree in accounting.
To ensure that Leczynski’s plan of study met all funding requirements, he met with Olga Lauterbach, the director of Corporate and Professional Training at University College. University College is UMass Boston’s central point of contact for the state’s Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
“University College worked very closely with Ray, other university departments, and the state’s Office of Labor and Workforce Development to ensure that the funding was in place for him to start his studies,” says Lauterbach.
Thanks to Lauterbach, says Leczynski, “I was able to enroll in the College of Management and earn my master’s in accounting. She helped me through the process that allowed me not only to attend the degree program, but to be able to survive financially.“
Leczynski graduated in December 2011, earning his degree in one year of concentrated, hard work. Weeks later, he was offered and accepted a position at a small accounting firm on the North Shore.
“The TAA program allowed me to choose among many high-quality programs at area colleges and universities, but UMass Boston was the best choice. I have a new degree, a new career, and owe a debt of gratitude to Olga, University College, and UMass Boston,” Leczynski said.