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Get training and up to 26 extra weeks of Unemployment $$

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Reviewed February 2023

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) supports unemployed workers who need training to get work.

calendar icon courtesy of graphicadvocacy.org

DUA could pay you up to 26 extra weeks while you get training from a program approved by DUA’s Training Opportunities Program (TOP).

Why would I be interested in TOP?

  1. Training may help you get a better job.
  2. While you are getting trained:
    • You do not have to do DUA's work search or look for a new job.
    • You keep getting regular benefits.
    • After your regular benefits run out you may be able to get extended Unemployment for up to 26 weeks.

What kind of training does TOP approve?

TOP approves vocational, college education, apprenticeship or basic skills training. Basic skills can be English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), High School Equivalency, or Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs.  The training program must:

  1. Provide vocational or basic skills training.
  2. Be full-time.
  3. Have a 70% job placement rate so that you are likely to find a job.
  4. Be a program that runs 2 years or that if you already started it, you can finish in in 2 years.

If your program has not been approved by DUA but it meets these four requirements, ask the TOP Unit to approve your program.


You can take three years to finish if the course combines ESOL, High School Equivalency, or ABE with vocational training. You can take ESOL alone. If you need High School Equivalency or ABE training you need to do vocational training also.

Full-time means at least:

  • 20 hours of weekly classroom training, or
  • 12 credits per semester of college.

You may be able to do less than full-time, if:

  • The class has lots of out-of-class work, or
  • You have a disability that makes full-time training difficult.

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