Finding yourself unemployed and searching for work is frustrating and overwhelming. Whether you’re changing your career because you’ve been laid off, the work you’ve done for years is no longer an option, or you’ve found a new interest, you have plenty of options. But finding and beginning your next career isn’t exactly easy.
Fortunately, there are resources available that can help you. From education and job training to financial assistance, there are a number of ways job seekers can get the knowledge, skills, and guidance they need to make a successful career change. There’s even a possibility that you could get free money via financial assistance programs.
Here are three different ways you can take advantage of various resources to get help starting your new career.
1. Join Training, Career Development, or Mentoring Programs
One of the biggest hurdles job seekers face when changing careers is a lack of skills. However, you can actually utilize a number of job training, career development, and mentoring programs to learn at any time. And you might even get paid to develop your new skills.
As part of an effort to get unemployed, displaced, and job searching workers into new careers, the U.S. government offers money and funding for job training. The federal government gives out money to both state and local organizations under the 1998 Workforce Investment Act. That act gives federal money specifically for training workers. Job seekers just have to look for it.
The federal government offers grants for job training through local governments, non-profit organizations, community colleges, and technical schools. You can find these grants through your local One Stop Career Center, and you can check out the different types of training available to gain new skills. For example, young job seekers can get hands-on job training via Job Corps. Displaced workers can attend community college under these grants to learn new skills via the U.S. Department of Labor. And The National Farm Worker Jobs Program helps migrant and seasonal farm laborers learn new skills.
U.S. job seekers can also consider job training and mentorship programs that are offered via fellowships, nonprofit organizations, and even universities.
For example, The University of Chicago will actually pay job seekers looking for a career change via the Data Science for Social Good Fellowship. This program teaches skills like data mining and data analysis to help participants start public sector careers. The TOLA Fellows program also offers a paid opportunity. Job seekers learn community organizing and leadership skills so they can prepare for business, community organization, and political careers.
2. Take Advantage of Financial Assistance
Learning new skills, understanding a new industry or job, and then looking for work takes time, effort, and money. And while you might want to get your career started on your own, you can take advantage of financial assistance.
Financial assistance for job seekers or those changing careers can alleviate stress and the expenses that can come with switching jobs. In fact, it’s especially beneficial if you need a particular education, a new degree, or other learning to start your new career.
Financial assistance is commonly available in the form of grants and scholarships. Grants, like Career Development Grants offered through AAUW, help provide money to earn a new degree if you’re changing careers or reentering the workforce. They can help pay the cost of tuition for qualified job seekers who need to attend community college, technical school, or a traditional university. Adult students can also take advantage of grants available just for their age group, which is perfect for anyone starting a second career.
There are also thousands of scholarships available to help you slash the cost of education. And some are even free of restrictions – or they may even be designed for students who are returning to school to get a second bachelor’s degree. You can find Pell grants, campus scholarships, and other general scholarships through the federal government and sites like StudentScholarshipSearch.
If you’re looking to fund a trade school education, you can also find scholarships just for trade schools. With a lack of qualified tradespeople, there are a number of scholarships available specifically for those interested in gaining new skills and learning a brand-new trade at any time in life.
3. Use Free Programs and Services to Get Help Finding a Job
Once you’ve gained the new skills needed to start a new career, it’s time to look for a job. And while this can be one of the toughest parts of beginning a second career, there’s help available.
There are government, non-profit, and community organizations dedicated to helping individuals find work of all kinds. And if you’re struggling to secure a new job, you can reach out to these organizations to get help, find new resources, and even get guidance on your applications, find job openings, and broaden your network.
For example, the U.S. Department of Labor will help workers who’ve been laid off – or who are about to be laid off – find new careers, get job training, and secure a new job via the Employment and Training Administration. You can get in touch with an American Job Center within Virginia to help you find work that suits your interests or needs.
Experience Works, a national non-profit, specifically helps older adults train for and find jobs. Seniors and other older individuals can use this organization’s grants to get help finding work for any “second career”. Other private organizations, like the Lilly Endowment, gives money to many different places to help people find jobs. The Lilly Endowment has helped Indiana job seekers with job placement, internships, and so much more.
You can search in your local area for free job search programs and organizations that’ll help place you with great opportunities in any industry.
Start Working Towards a New Career Today
Are you ready for a new career? It’s a big undertaking and a huge change. But fortunately, there are plenty of resources available. And they’re just for those who are starting a brand-new career and need to learn new skills. You can get help with every aspect of your job search, from finding the right career to learning and studying to actually applying for jobs.
The key is to know these resources exist. You can use the information here to begin your search for resources in your area. No matter the reasons you’re moving into a new career, there are opportunities to get financial assistance, scholarships, and free help along the way. You just need to look for it.