GCC Training Opportunity Program (TOP) Application Guide

(aka. Section 30)

Under-employed or 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

If you are not a MA 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: dorans@gcc.mass.edu
  • Contact Alex Carley, if you are or will be a non-credit student: carleya@gcc.mass.edu
TOP Application Checklist for GCC Students

This guide can help GCC students navigate the TOP application process more effectively and quickly, while increasing the strength of their TOP application.  However, only the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) TOP Application Evaluator can determine if a GCC student qualifies for any TOP/Section 30 benefits by reviewing your completed TOP application.

TIP: 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.

  1. Find out if you are eligible for MA unemployment insurance benefits:
    1. Visit the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance website.
    2. Contact your regional MassHire Career Center, if you need additional guidance.
  2. If you are applying for or were approved for MA unemployment insurance 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: top@detma.org 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.
      3. Ask where to find your TOP application within your unemployment insurance UI claim portal, if you can’t find it.
    5. Read through this checklist, so you will have an overview and know what to do and expect.
    6. Contact your GCC TOP liaison, if you have additional questions. (See #5 below.)
  3. Download your Training Opportunity Program (TOP/Section 30) application from your UI claim portal.
  4. Review all pages of your TOP Application template, and..
    1. Fill in page 1-3 completely and accurately.
      1. If you have questions about pages 1-2, contact the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center for assistance.
  5. Email your GCC TOP liaison for assistance:
    1. If you are enrolling or enrolled in a non-credit GCC program, contact Alex Carley: carelya@gcc.mass.edu
    2. If you are enrolled in a for-credit Certificate or Associate program at GCC, contact Shannon Doran: dorans@gcc.mass.edu
      1. Ask questions or request an appointment.
      2. Email your TOP application: pages 1-9 with page 1-3 filled in.
  6. Your GCC TOP liaison will:
    1. Compile any of the documents listed on page 3 of your TOP application, if/when needed.
    2. Communicate directly with your advisor to gather the 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.
  7. When you receive your TOP application with Part D filled in (or other required documents) from your GCC TOP liaison:
    1. Check your completed 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.)
    3. File the final version of your TOP application for future reference.
  8. Submit your completed TOP application directly to the MA TOP Office according to their instructions.
    1. (optional) Also email a copy to top@detma.org and CC your GCC TOP liaison.
  9. If the MA TOP Office does not confirm receipt of your TOP application, consider calling or emailing them to make sure they received it: top@detma.org or (617) 626-5521
  10. 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 contacting them directly to request an update on your application: top@detma.org or (617) 626-5521
  11. When receive a determination letter from the MA TOP Office:
    1. Read the MA TOP determination letter carefully – i.e. to find out if you have been approved for one or more TOP benefits.
    2. Notify your GCC TOP liaison, and (if possible) email them a copy.
    3. Follow all directions included the DUA TOP/Section 30 determination notice.
    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.
    2. If you ever have difficulty with your claim and the unemployment system, contact the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center for assistance.
  13. For-credit students should also visit the GCC Financial Services Office to learn about financial aid, scholarships, work study, and more.
Official MA TOP / Section 30 Resources

Only the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) TOP Office can answer students’ questions about their TOP eligibility, status, and benefits.

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.

Assistance for GCC TOP Applicants
  • Maintains the TOP checklist (in the section above)
  • Fills in part D of TOP applications
  • Provides general advice and support – via. email, phone, and remote meetings

If you are a non-credit student, contact Alex Carley: carleya@gcc.mass.edu

If you are a for-credit student, contact Shannon Doran: dorans@gcc.mass.edu

NOTE: Only the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) TOP Office (top@detma.org or (617) 626-5521) can answer students’ questions about their TOP eligibility, status, and benefits.

TOP 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.