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Off the Job, But Online for Education.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jodi Burgraff prefers to take her higher education in her pajamas -- for free.

Burgraff is one of three displaced LTV Steel Mining Co. workers who have taken advantage of a $500,000 grant program from Capella University to help revitalize Iron Range workers with new skills for the area's changing job market.

Capella, an online university based in Minneapolis, is offering $10,000 grants to former employees of LTV in Hoyt Lakes and their family members for courses at the institution.

The grants, coupled with state and federal aid, made the decision to return to school an easy one for Burgraff.

"Losing my job at LTV was the best thing that could have ever happened to me," said Burgraff, a former furnace operator. "I'm basically getting a free education."

Burgraff said she's on course for a degree in Web technology development. Two years ago, she barely knew how to turn on a computer, she said.

After the LTV plant closed in January and left 1,400 workers without jobs, Capella officials started working with the Mesabi Range and Community and Technical College to create the grant program. Capella offers only upper-level courses, so Mesabi allows students to take introductory courses to meet the grant prerequisites.

Jim Cagle, Mesabi's director of student support services, said the number of enrolled workers remains low because many people are still trying to cope with their job loss.
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Title Annotation:continuing education grants for unemployed workers
Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U4MN
Date:Jul 9, 2001
Words:234
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