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Learning skills in search of work

Having an advanced degree disqualified her from a free woodworkingworkshop for the chronically unemployed, so architect Brooke Luckockmade a deal with the nonprofit running the program: She’d teachcomputer design in exchange for shop time.<p></p>

Having an advanced degree disqualified her from a free woodworking workshop for the chronically unemployed, so architect Brooke Luckock made a deal with the nonprofit running the program: She’d teach computer design in exchange for shop time.

“Even if I don’t change my career, the competition is so high, I wanted to get an edge, something that makes me unique,” Luckock, 30, said. “I don’t feel there’s a support level for people that have an education and lost their jobs.”

Luckock, who is $150,000 in debt after earning an architecture master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania, has been job-hunting since she was laid off in March. For every position there were hundreds of applicants.

The Brooklyn Woods job training program where she’s learning carpentry is accustomed to different barriers to employment. More than half its trainees have been incarcerated at one time.

Brooklyn Woods has turned away others like Luckock this year, said director Scott Peltzer. “There is new funding for the Brookes of the world,” Peltzer said, “but those contracts aren’t in place yet.”

When her unemployment ends in March, Luckock may go back to waitressing. “I’m considering downgrading my resume,” she said. “It’s crossed my mind to not mention my master’s degree.”

 
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