NYers take classes to pursue ‘dream jobs’ during pandemic

Monica Makes It Happen

NEW YORK — If you want to make difference in your community and can’t seem to find a job during the pandemic, there is a way to go back to school and find that dream job.

A new community college program is helping New Yorkers find a new career they are passionate about. And it is all just a click away.

Mark Gilson 49, says he’s like the Dr. Dolittle of Woodside, Queens. Ever since he was a kid he’s loved animals. He has a crested gecko, tortoise, snake, and three cats in his one bedroom queens apartment.

He’s an out of work graphic designer, who turned his love of animals into a new career as a vet tech.

“I always had a passion for animals, more like compassion than passion,” said Gilson.

Gilson thought a career change at his age would be impossible, especially during a pandemic. But surprisingly, he found it to be the perfect time to take classes online and pursue his dream job.

Philip Gimber is Gilson’s teacher and chair of health sciences at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. He says classes are online and flexible and a great opportunity to pivot when it comes to a new career.

Gimber says one of the hottest jobs right now is musical therapy.

Another is public health — that includes in demand jobs like contact tracing, the fastest growing field in New York.

“We have our students get real life experience so they can get jobs,” said Gimber.

Many of these programs start in March and are enrolling students right now.

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