Are you one of the 7 million Americans who are currently unemployed? While applying for a federal job training program might seem like a good idea, a recent study found that these facilities aren't likely to help much.
Research into the operations of One-Stop Job Centers in the greater Sacramento area revealed that the government-funded job training facilities fall short of helping unemployed workers improve their standing. Brian W. Halpin, a sociology lecturer at the University of California-Davis who authored the study, spent two years interviewing job coaches and unemployed and underemployed workers at these job centers. Of the 32 workers Halpin interviewed, only four were eligible for federally funded training. To receive that training, workers had to be deemed "unemployable," a definition which varied across the six centers he researched.
"This analysis illustrates a fundamental flaw in treating human beings as fictitious commodities, who, without a sufficient demand for their services, sit idly by, unused and unwanted," Halpin said.
In the wake of Halpin's research, Business News Daily identified more resources to help unemployed and underemployed workers during their job search. Here are five ways to access training, networking and job opportunities.
There are many ways to freelance, whether it's writing, a trade, graphic design or any other service you can think of. You'd be surprised how many people are looking for good rates and quality service, and if you're in need of work, it could be as easy as putting the word out in your local area.
Of course, it helps if you have a strong network of people in need of your specific services. However, as you begin to build a portfolio and reputation, that network will gradually grow. Asking for referrals to boost your signal couldn't hurt either. [Want to start freelancing? Check out these common job markets for freelancers.]
Networking groups and conferences
You never know what will come from meeting new faces. Networking groups are a great way to get a freelance or business venture off the ground, or to follow your passions and interests into a new industry. There are plenty of one-off industry networking events, as well as groups that regularly meet.
Meetup groups are one way to network with people who have similar interests or business goals. Larger gatherings like conferences also offer many networking opportunities. Prepare a short pitch about your skill set, bring a stack of business cards, and see where you can make sparks fly. [Want to network like a pro? Here's how to make the most out of that next conference.]
A bit less interactive than networking groups and conferences, seminars are a great way to get involved with a specific community, hear some new ideas and, yes, even meet some people you might be able to work with.
Finding the right seminar to attend based on your skill set, interests and geography is easy in the digital era. Tools like SkillPath can help connect you with job training opportunities and seminars about almost any topic near you easily. There are also webinars for when there are no nearby events.
If you're in dire need of work immediately, staffing firms will help connect you with open positions quickly. Oftentimes, staffing firms connect workers with short-term or part-time work; a company works with the staffing firm to pick up internal slack without bringing on a new employee. These can serve as great quick fixes while you look for something more permanent.
Staffing firms will work with you to match you with an available position that meets your skill set and experience level, and keep working to match you with employers after a particular assignment ends. These arrangements can be crucial to keeping money coming in while you explore your long-term options. [Want to work with a staffing agency? Understand the needs of potential employers.]
Career transition services
Whether your previous industry is suffering or you just feel it's time for a change, shifting career paths can be a great move. While it's daunting to step out of your comfort zone, career transition services can help ease the difficulty associated with starting something new.
Think of it as a fresh start and an opportunity to pursue something interesting and fun. Don't be afraid to accept an entry-level position in a new field, even if you've spent years in your former career. Starting again might seem difficult, but it could give you the boost you need. [Ready for a change? Here's what to keep in mind when transitioning careers.]