"I was a good candidate [for the state retraining program], but I had to deal with the University of Michigan," Washburn continues. She was the first student to apply for tuition assistance through NWLB, "and it took almost a year to get everything done, though the administration did a lot for me. I received about $10,000 altogether for two years of a three-year program, and it helped a ton. I graduated in June of 2010, and I've been working part time since July of 2010 for a local dentist office, Ann Arbor Smiles on South Huron Parkway."
If this sounds easy, it wasn't. "Getting laid off was very traumatic, but I had three years to come to grips with it," Washburn says. "Now I feel it was a great decision, and I'm glad I was forced into it. I'm raising my family now, so I appreciate having a steady job, and having a part-time job means I can be home for my kids when they get home from school."
Washburn especially appreciates the job because, even after retraining, they're not easy to come by. "It's not great for dental hygienists. A lot of dental hygienists have to get multiple part-time jobs because there're not many full-time jobs out there. And some dental offices are cutting back because [patients] are cutting back.