Associated Press
This Thursday, May 10, 2012 photo shows Mike Szlamczynski at the Blackhawk Tech College in Janesville, Wis. After 15 years on the Chrysler line, the autoworker took a buyout, returned to college at age 41 and studied to be a chef. He wanted financial security, no more layoffs, no more fears of losing it all. "I was tired of worrying," he says. "I had nothing to fall back on. If you have an education, that's something they can't take away from you. You have options. Before, I didn't have any options." On May 12, 2012, the man who dropped out of school 20 years ago after concentrating on fun more than work graduated from Blackhawk Technical College with an associate's degree in culinary arts and a 3.8 average _ "a huge accomplishment," he says. Most importantly, he left with a coveted commodity: a job as a cook at a casino-resort in New York state. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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