LCCC’s Fast-Track certification program helps Simone Yalanty of Lorain turn a COVID-19 layoff into a career change

When Simone Yalanty was laid off from a job as a machine operator due to COVID-19, it seemed to come from out of nowhere.

“It was pretty surprising,” Yalanty says. “We hadn’t been told anything until the day of the meeting when we were told we were being laid off for two weeks.”

Two weeks turned into 13. But Yalanty, 26, had decided early on to use the unexpected layoff to change careers.

“I didn’t know when I’d be going back so I got in touch with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, which directed me to LCCC,” Yalanty says.

Yalanty spoke with Michelle Pawlak, program advisor for the college’s Fast-Track to Employment Certificates. The program is designed for anyone looking to train for a new industry quickly and affordably. Students can earn their certificates in as little as 16 weeks.

“So many workers in our community have been displaced due to coronavirus,” Pawlak says. “The Fast-Track program lets them use their layoff to retrain for an in-demand field and quickly enter the workforce with experience and certification.”


Simone Yalanty

Yalanty is earning a short-term certificate in Computer Information Systems – Software Development. Having all the classes online has made it easier to continue working when Yalanty was rehired by her employer and complete the coursework at a manageable pace.

Yalanty graduated in December 2020 and hopes to not only begin working in the software development industry but continue learning.

“I’d like to find a job doing entry-level software development to save up and then go back for my associate degree,” Yalanty says.

Yalanty might not have seen the layoff coming but does see positive outcomes from it.

“I’m on my way to a brighter future than I thought I’d get and it gives me motivation to keep going.”

“For other busy people, especially adults like myself who work and have other obligations, this is the best opportunity I could have ever asked for.”
Simone Yalanty of LCCC's Fast Track to Employment program