As unemployment numbers rise, so do applications for colleges. The boon is turning into a boom for Grand Junction vocational schools.
Classes are jam packed at several Grand Junction vocational schools.
Some schools say enrollment is up more than 50 percent over last year.
With more people finding themselves out of a job, vocational schools say those people are finding their way back to the classroom.
They're looking to head in a new direction and whether it's in the medical field or cutting hair, students we spoke to say they hope it translates into an employer cutting a check.
It's finals week for Intellitech College students but many of them, like Haley Wodnick, are less worried about tests and more worried about keeping a roof over their heads.
"We were devastated, it was a good paying job," Wodnick told 11 news about being laid off just weeks ago.
"It's hard to find another job."
She's now studying to be a Medical Office Assistant and hoping that will make the search easier.
Intellitech College Dean George Huisman says Wodnick's story is becoming more common and he believes it's why enrollment has jumped 58 percent over the last year.
"It's the biggest jump I've seen and I've been here 7 years," Huisman told 11 News on Wednesday.
The Salon Professional Academy says it's seen a 30 percent jump in enrollment.
Tery Bonine is a teacher at the school and says she's seeing a lot of women who's husbands were laid off in the oil field looking to make some money.
"There's a lot of people that are struggling and so it's inspiring more women to get out there and see what they can do to help in their family situation," Bonine told 11 News on Wednesday.
Mesa State College says it has seen an increase in an enrollment across the board but Spokeswoman Dana Nunn says she's not sure if it's all because of the economy or if its growth. She says these spikes may not last once budgets get slashed.
"We're gonna have to look at tuition increases and what impact that could have on future enrollment, is yet to be seen."
But for now, business is booming at vocational schools and students like Haley Wodnick are just trying to make it through the end of the semester and make it on the jobhunt.
"To get a stable job where I can make decent money to help support my family," said Wodnick.
Intellitech says if enrollment continues to climb it will expand with a parking garage and new classrooms.
The Salon Professional Academy says it's classes are almost filled up for May but new enrollment starts every two months.
Mesa State College says it will discuss a tuition increase at the board of directors meeting in May.
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