By Ben Leubsdorf
May 9, 2016
Gary Reece was earning six figures when he lost his tech-industry job in 2000. He was making about half his old salary when he was laid off again in 2008. Now 61 years old, unemployed and looking to improve his odds in the job market, he left his family in San Jose, Calif., for a few months this year to live in a college dormitory and finish a long-abandoned bachelor’s degree.
He is looking for more than a paycheck. “Everywhere you go, when you meet people it’s, ‘What do you do?’ ” Mr. Reece said. “You don’t have much of an identity with that question if you say, ‘I don’t do anything.’ ”