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In March 2020 when the pandemic hit, the restaurant where Amy Bieganek was working as a waitress announced a temporary closure. By August, it turned into a permanent one.

Unemployment was a shock for Ms. Bieganek, 53, who had been working in the Minneapolis restaurant industry for 30 years. “That was heartbreaking,” she said. “Being in the restaurant industry, I never thought I would be out of a job ever.”

She thought it might be time to explore a new career.

After talking to a friend who is a real estate agent, Ms. Bieganek signed up for classes. In February 2021 she got her real estate license.