GCC Training Opportunity Program (TOP) Application Guide

(aka. Section 30)

Unemployed in-state students sometimes qualify for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

When they do, it is strongly recommended that students also apply for the MA DUA Training Opportunities Program (TOP/Section 30) to find out if they qualify for one or more of the following benefits:

  1. Permission to study while collecting MA UI benefits
  2. A waiver for the UI job search requirement
  3. Up to a 26-week extension of MA UI benefits
For Out-of-State Students

If you are not a Massachusetts resident, contact your state’s unemployment office to find out if there are any programs or benefits you can take advantage of, while a studying at GCC.  Then, if you need any assistance from GCC:

  • Contact Shannon Doran, if you are a for-credit student:
  • Contact Hannah Milton, if you are or will be a non-credit student:
Eligibility for TOP/Section 30

Ultimately, only a Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) TOP application evaluator can determine if a GCC student qualifies for TOP/Section 30 benefits, by reviewing a student’s completed TOP application.

Official State Resources: 

Update (2023):

TOP approval may only be granted if the claimant demonstrates (i.e. in page 2 of the TOP application) that they are unable to obtain employment without training, and at least one of the following criteria needs to be met by a TOP applicant:

(a) The claimant requires training to become re-employed in his or her current occupation, because his or her present skills in that occupation are insufficient or are technologically out of date; provided, however, that a claimant possessing sufficient skills in his or her current occupation to obtain suitable employment in that occupation shall not be determined to be in need of training, unless the claimant has separated from a declining occupation or is unemployed as a result of a permanent reduction of operations and the claimant is training for a demand occupation;

(b) A claimant’s existing skills are obsolete due to technological change or because there is currently no demand for his or her skills in his or her work search area, or because a disability has made the claimant unable to perform the essential functions of jobs in the claimant’s previous occupation;

(c) A claimant is in need of Basic Skills training or any other training in combination with Basic Skills.

(d) The claimant has applied for or is participating in a course or training program authorized by WIOA;

Checklist for GCC Students

This guide can help GCC students navigate the TOP application process more responsibly, quickly, and effectively.

If you would prefer to use an easy-to-read Google Doc version of the GCC TOP Application Checklist below, please click here and make a copy for your own use.

  1. Documentation tips:
    1. File emails and keep a log of calls made (date, representative name, questions asked, information received, next steps, etc.).
    2. If you don’t receive a response within 2-5 business days, call or email again.
  2. Find out if you are eligible for MA unemployment insurance benefits:
    1. Visit the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance website.
  3. If you are applying for or were approved for MA unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, get informed about TOP/Section 30 eligibility and benefits:
    1. TOP Brochure
    2. Training Opportunities Program Eligibility Requirements
    3. TOP Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) website
    4. Contact the DUA TOP Office for more information: or (617) 626-5521 to:
      1. Find out what your TOP application deadline is, as soon as possible!
      2. Ask any questions you have about your eligibility.
    5. Read through this checklist, so you will have an overview and know what to do and expect.
  4. Download your Training Opportunity Program (TOP/Section 30) application from your UI claim portal.
    1. If you can’t find it, contact the DUA TOP Office for more information: or (617) 626-5521.
  5. Fill in page 1-3 completely and accurately.
    1. Your answer on the top of page two should indicate why your current employment situation or skill level is not enough to be gainfully employed and how the training/education received will improve your skills and/or employment prospects.
  6. Email your GCC TOP liaison for assistance:
    1. If you are enrolling or enrolled in a non-credit GCC program, contact Hannah Milton:
    2. If you are enrolled in a credit-earning Certificate or Associate program at GCC, contact Shannon Doran:
      1. Email your TOP application: pages 1-9 with page 1-3 filled in.
        1. You can email the entire blank application and also email photographs of pages 1, 2, and 3 – if that is easier.
      2. If you have questions, email or (recommended) make an appointment.
  7. Your GCC TOP liaison will:
    1. Compile any of the documents listed on page 3 of your TOP application, if/when needed, as long as you added a signature and date to this page.
    2. Communicate directly with your advisor to gather all necessary schedule information.
    3. Fill in Part D of your TOP application.
    4. Email the completed TOP application (and any other required documents) back to you.
  8. When you receive your TOP application with Part D filled in (or other required documents) by your GCC TOP liaison:
    1. Review your TOP application, to ensure that it is complete and accurate.
    2. Contact your GCC TOP Liaison if you have any questions or concerns. (See #5 for details.)
      1. For a non-credit GCC program, contact Hannah Milton:
      2. For a credit-earning Certificate or Associate program at GCC, contact Shannon Doran: or make an appointment.
    3. File the final version of your TOP application for future reference.
  9. Submit your completed TOP application directly to the MA TOP Office according to their instructions.
    1. (optional) You can also email a copy to  and CC your GCC TOP liaison.
      1. Within the body of this email, mention that you also mailed a hard copy as directed and include your UI claim number.
  10. Following up on your TOP application submission:
    1. If the MA TOP Office does not confirm receipt of your TOP application, consider calling or emailing them to make sure they received it: or (617) 626-5521
    2. If it has been 2-3 weeks since you submitted your application to the MA TOP Office, and you haven’t received a TOP determination letter, consider requesting an update on your application: or (617) 626-5521
  11. When you receive a determination letter or email from the MA TOP Office:
    1. Read the MA TOP determination letter carefully.
    2. Follow all directions included the DUA TOP/Section 30 determination notice.
    3. Notify your GCC TOP liaison, and (if possible) email them a copy.
      1. For a non-credit GCC program, contact Hannah Milton:
      2. For a credit-earning Certificate or Associate program at GCC, contact Shannon Doran:
    4. File the email or letter about your MA TOP/Section 30 status for future reference.
  12. Continue to follow all MA TOP/Section 30 Office directions received via. email or the postal service.
    1. Reach out to GCC TOP liaison if you need additional assistance.
      1. For a non-credit GCC program, contact Hannah Milton:
      2. For a credit-earning Certificate or Associate program at GCC, contact Shannon Doran:
  13. Credit-earning students should also visit the GCC Financial Services Office to learn about financial aid, scholarships, work study options, and more.
GCC Assistance for Students Applying for TOP

For non-credit GCC programs, contact Hannah Milton, .

For a credit-earning Certificate or Associate program at GCC, contact Shannon Doran, or make an appointment.

GCC provides the following TOP/Section 30 supports and resources for students:

  • Maintains the TOP webpage as well as the TOP checklist
  • Fills in part D of TOP applications
  • Provides general advice about how to complete a TOP application via email, phone and remote meetings
  • Refers students to other valuable state and community-based resources and services