The Job Hunt: Web site helps unemployed find schools to improve skills

With 11.1 million people out of work, it makes sense that some would either return to college or find a technical school to learn new job skills., a Web site that helps people search for schools, is seeing some of that market as more people look to retool their careers. In December, the national unemployment rate reached 7.2%. A month later, saw its traffic increase 54% from the previous month to 376,000 visitors.

Jerry Slavonia, the company's CEO, said in an interview that while he doesn't necessarily tie the two together, he admits that the recession is helping his company prosper.

"A lot of people are going to have to start from scratch" in this economy, said Slavonia, 41, from his office in Santa Monica.

"If you're in a dead-end career, you just can't go out and get a new job," and going to school will help retool for a career change, he said.

Instead of being a job site, Campus Explorer helps students pick colleges on its homepage, and anyone find a new career at its career page. The career page is difficult to find at the bottom of the home page in small type. Once found, it offers information on such careers as aviation, business, criminal justice, education, health and skilled trades.

The profiles, such as the one for desktop publishers, show the the average salary in that career, job outlook, recommended education level, and have links to related professions, among other information.

Since Campus Explorer started two years ago, its goal was to focus on entering college freshmen looking for a college, and on professionals returning to school for new skills, said Slavonia, who says his company is "like the eHarmony of career education."

The site doesn't cater to the country's top schools, but has a wide range of schools that can be searched by state, field of study, size, religion and setting, such as a rural area or large city.

"This isn't about your top schools, this is about your long-term career goals," Slavonia said of the site.

The odd thing is that many of Campus Explorer's users, at least among potential college students, is that many haven't figured out what career path to take, Slavonia said.

"The majority of kids don't go to a top school and they haven't necessarily tied in education to a career path," he said.

For the unemployed returning to college, that's what it's all about.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at

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