Out of work and looking to retrain? Avoid for-profit technical colleges

The New York Timesreports that many laid-off, right-sized, downsized and fired workers are looking to technical colleges and other training programs to develop new skills that will, they hope, lead to long-term job security.

The Times piece mentions 25-year old Jonathan Beam, who enrolled in a course at Everest College to become an electrician. The reporter notes that "The course, which he has nearly completed, runs nine months and costs $14,000. Much of that is covered by a grant and loans, he said."

Then it tells the story of Amy Sutton, a former real estate agent who is taking classes at Everest as well with the goal of finding a job in the health care field -- at a cost of $10,000.

I have a piece of advice that is really a prayer. I am begging you: Please. please, please call up your local community college to inquire about programs it offers before you even think about signing up with one of these for-profit shops like Everest College. Devry University, another for-profit institution, is offering $1,000 per semester "employment gap scholarships" to people who have been laid off recently.