EUGENE, Ore. -- When Hynix Semiconductor closed it's plant in Eugene, Brandon Fox was out on the street.
"My world was upside down as soon as that came out that it was closing down," Fox said.
In three and a half years at Hynix, Fox had been promoted twice. But his high-paying job as a department manager was gone overnight.
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Fox heard about a federal program that helps people go back to school for retraining -- and into a career that pays around the same level.
"I've always had a pretty strong interest in computer networks and computing in general, and so it was a very quick easy decision for me to make to go into this field and to go back to school," Fox said.
Fox is not alone: the economic downturn has led to a staggering number of lay-offs in Oregon and a huge surge in enrollment at Lane Community College in the last year.
"So people like Brandon who had come to Lane before and felt like he had educational training that would sustain him over time realized that he was going to have to come back and re-tool and update his skills perhaps to make himself ready for a more recession-proof job," said Mary Spilde, president of LCC.
Spilde encourages anyone going through that career transition to talk with an advisor at the college and look at their options.
"Tap into our resources," she said. "We have financial aid, we have counseling and advising, we have career counseling. Once you get into class, we have lots of supports -- tutoring and math and science and writing -- so that we can help students be successful. They don't have to do it by themselves."
Fox will finish school in a few months. He's starting his own computer support company and waiting for the economy to turn around.
"We've all seen it go through ups and downs," he said, "so I think that's, you know, just being ready for the next step is what I've been doing."