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NPR: Laid-off Scranton manufacturing worker retrains to become nurse, wishes she had been one all along

August 26, 2003 -- Today National Public Radio's Morning Edition carried a report by John Ydstie focusing on a Scranton, Pennsylvania woman who, after being laid off when a TV picture tube plant moved to Mexico, had successfully retrained to be a nurse.

The report was the second of a three-part series using Scranton as an example of the nation's massive loss of manufacturing jobs in recent years, and it detailed what had happened to Scranton workers in the wake of the plant's closure two years earlier. The first worker profiled was 50-year-old mother Anne Pepsin (phonetic). Pepsin had become an orthopedic nurse with the help of government benefits available to workers laid off because of overseas plant relocations. In Scranton, as elsewhere, nurses are in great demand, and the piece noted that the workers who had retrained as nurses were doing much better than many of their former colleagues.

Pepsin sounded ecstatic about her new nursing job, which actually paid more than her plant job; she said she found it so rewarding that she wished she had become a nurse 30 years earlier. One of the two other workers profiled had found a job answering phones in a dental office. The last worker--a former supervisor whose wife was a nurse--now worked five part time jobs which paid far less than his old one, but did allow him more time to be with his family.

Listen to NPR's story: Scranton, Pt. II.

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