Meet Lisa R. Perry. Lisa was employed as a Human Resources Specialist at Brown & Williamson for four years prior to its merger with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The merger of the two companies resulted in the eventual closure of the Macon facility, the transfer of many employees to North Carolina and the layoff, separation or retirement of several hundred individuals not transferred. Lisa knew if offered, she would not accept a transfer to North Carolina because of her husband's military commitment, and because of her deep desire to continue her education and to remain in the business world in Georgia. Ultimately, Lisa's goal was to teach business education at the high school level. According to Lisa, the day she received her layoff notice, she broke down in tears and cried like a baby. Lisa's husband wanted to know why. "You knew this day was coming and we prepared for it! Why cry now? Although I knew this day was coming, today is that day. It is final! It is all over! No more!" Lisa began preparing before the layoff to achieve her goal of teaching high school business by enrolling in Georgia College & State University's Masters degree in January 2004. Initially she began by taking one class per semester and when she finally received her layoff notice she was able to accelerate her pace to two classes per semester with the Consortium's financial assistance of books, tuition and supplies. "This support provided me with the opportunity to concentrate on my studies and complete my degree in minimum time." Good news! Lisa completed her Masters degree in December 2006. "Without the Consortium's assistance, I would not have qualified for this career opportunity. Although I am not teaching high school business, I am teaching business education classes to adults seeking information about how to start their own business. I am a part of the public service faculty of The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. Thanks for your help!"
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