By Mary LaFontaine
A reader writes, "I was looking at the recent article about the top 10 hardest jobs to fill. I qualify for a couple but would like to learn about training to move into another field. I have been a journeymen carpenter and hold a CDL. I would like to train for a professional career such as sales or I.T. what are the options? Is there free training out there such as Alison.com or UniversalClass.com that would fit the bill?"
My response: Your local career center can help you access job training.
Free Job Resources
If you do not have the skills you need to advance in your career or to get a new job, there has never been a better time for you to think about education or training options that well help you get ahead. The career center can work with you to set goals, find training, and identify financial resources to make your plan possible.
Start with a Plan
You will want to start with a solid plan that takes into account your strengths and interests and includes your career goals. Everyone has a unique set of skills, interests, and work values. Understanding your strengths can help you identify career options that would be a good match for you.
Links That Can Help
The following websites can help you narrow your options:
- NetworkRI in Rhode Island is a partnership of professional labor, training and education organizations.
- One Stop Career Centers in Massachusetts, where you can find your local career center for an overview of services, hours and contact information.
- NH Works Centers in New Hampshire: In addition to job listings, their many NH Works career centers throughout the state offer education and training resources at no or minimal cost.
- Vermont Job Link in Vermont lets you can create a job seeker PLUS account and receive several free services to help you find work.
- In addition, if you plan on attending a two- or four-year college or university, the Maine Education Opportunity Center (MEOC) staff can help you with the basic steps for successful college enrollment: entrance requirements, admissions procedures, and financial aid. You can reach the MEOC staff member nearest you by calling 1-800-281-3703.
- O*Net Skills Search: You can use a list of your skills to find matching O*NET-SOC occupations.
- Skills Profiler: Identify your skills and find occupations related to those skills.
- My Next Move: This tool is aimed at providing job seekers with information on more than 900 occupations, as well as local job openings and training opportunities in a simple, user-friendly format.
You will also need to know what jobs are in demand and how much they pay. These sites provide useful labor market information to help you target careers based on job opportunities.
- Employability Checkup: Get a snapshot of the likelihood that you can obtain employment for a specific occupation at your desired wage and location.
- Maine Employment Info Guide: Click on the Job Outlook to 2018 to research Maine labor market trends including wages, employment projections and educational requirements.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask
Another resource for determining training needs of specific employers or industries is to ask them directly. Most employers and industry groups will gladly answer your questions about their expectations of applicants and the skills and background training they require.
Once you have determined your career goals, based on your strengths, interests and jobs that are in demand, you can use your local career center to access information about where specific trainings and degrees are offered and what resources are available to help pay for your training or education.
There are several funding streams that career centers have access to that may be able to assist you. Some programs are designed for Veterans, those who have low income, those who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade and many more "target audiences."
There are scholarship programs, on-the-job training opportunities as well as apprenticeships. Career center employees are experts at helping you identify which resources are most appropriate for your circumstances.
About the Author:
Mary LaFontaine is a relationship builder extraordinaire! A manager with the Maine Department of Labor's CareerCenter for the past eight years, she also serves as a City Councilor for the City of Auburn, she teaches a course called "Finding Your Calling" at University of Southern Maine, L-A campus, and she is a board member at the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. Mary holds a master's degree in adult education and an undergraduate degree in studio art.