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Attending Community College classes in California

by L.R.
(Sacramento CA, US)

Hope you can help, I've tried everywhere and I haven't found an answer.

I recently got laid off from my job working as a probation officer. The hours that I worked changed constantly for the 2 1/2 years I was employed. I worked a 3pm to 3am and 7am-7pm (12 hr shifts 3 days/week) and with my last year of employment I worked a 1pm-9pm (M-F shift)

From my understanding The history of my "work hours" are important because it will help determine my availability for a new job.

I want to take some classes at my local community college that would eventually lead to a certification. I'd take evening classes if mostly, and wont exceed 9 units of credit (or what was defined to me as 9hrs of classroom time) Therefore I would still be able to work a full-time job. However some classes are only offered during the day, in the middle of the week (i.e. a Tuesday 12pm-3pm)

Would the unemployment powers that be, hold my unemployment check if I take evening classes and/or 1 day class? Or just cut me off all together? And because of my previous employment's work hours, how does that help or hurt my situation?

There's another twist to my situation. California has something that I think is awesome, but doesn't help me. It's called the California Training Benefits program. Which allows you to get training and other types of schooling with their APPROVED classes. All that I have found, concerning college courses for a certification or degree was "you may be eligible, depending on your situation".

It seems to be a lot of gray, and not black and white. I just want to know can I collect unemployment while going to school part time day and/or night? or am i limited to only take night classes and wait till my unemployment runs out before I am even able to finish any kind of schooling?

If you can answer these questions for my situation, you'd be the only one who has given any attention to those of us struggling. I thank you and keep up the great work.


Hi L.R.

Unemployment and school issues are the most frequent questions being asked nowadays .. maybe that's good news and the tides are turning.

I'll try to answer to the best of my ability, but just so you know .. this subject is new territory for someone who spent all their
time figuring out ways to argue benefits should be denied .. including this subject:)

I use a process to first get a bearing on a subject for each state. I start at the USDOL (opens in new window) I click the current year and for this subject I then click "Nonmonetary" and go to table 5-12.

This is what it says about California:

Yes, ineligible unless student has a part-time seek work plan or is available for full-time work in labor market during school.

Now I know what you would have to prove to remain eligible. But I also know your worry is not without foundation.

The phrase "labor market" tells me that they may use BLS information to determine the A&A aspects of your claim ..

Fortunately, you live in California and they do a very decent job of informing "citizens" about the adjudication process. Click here. (Opens in new window)

So the real questions for me after reading the information were:

Would L.R. be restricting availability for a "substantial" portion of the labor market while seeking suitable work if attending school at night.

Is L.R. willing to adjust the school schedule if offered suitable work and if the school schedule cannot be adjusted, willing to abandon school.

Will L.R. be seen as someone with a significant attachment to the labor force?

And exactly how valuable is this certification to obtaining new work if the labor market for probation officers .. sucks right now.

If you have a degree or special certifications, is being a probation officer the only field or type of work you are qualified to do? I doubt it.

The entire section under Able and Available is really for claimants only. Any denials will result from not understanding the many facets.

An employer uses A&A as a means of protesting claims, just to raise the issue with the state, so they can grill you during your interview, but if it works .. they will never show at the hearing unless you refused an offer to return to work after a layoff. The only person who can resolve A&A issues in most circumstances is YOU.

I don't think you will have a problem keeping benefits and if questioned I think any A&A issue can be resolved in your favor .. unlike some who may be trying to subsidize their schooling.

If you are still uncomfortable, search the CA unemployment precedents.

Thanks for asking.


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