Often people wish to take advantage of their time on unemployment by going to school and gaining new skills in order to switch careers. Perhaps they have worked in an industry for many years that has been hit hard by the recession such as real-estate or construction. Or, maybe they are just tired of working in a particular field and find this to be the best time to re-train themselves in order to gain entry into a new one.
If this is you, it may be time to re-think your strategy. Switching gears completely is not always productive or warranted and in fact may result in both a waste of your time and more importantly, your money. All day long the airwaves are bombarded with commericals touting your “new career as a medical assistant” or as a “dog groomer” or many of the myriad of other short-term vocational options available to you at these “nationally accredited institutions.”
Who among us has not seen one of these advertisements with their “95% placement rates” being blasted into our living rooms? One of the many things these schools do not tell you is that if you are thinking that this might be a good idea, there are likely to be many others that are thinking the same thing. I will use “Dental Assistant” training as a good example. If 300 people in the greater Hartford area train to become a dental assistant in a two year period, doing the math should tell you that there is absolutely no way that 300 dental assistant positions are likely to open up in the ensuing months after completing the training.
While you may get a job in this field, statistics show this is not likely. Patiently explaining this to people who come in to seek re-training dollars through the WIA program (Workforce Investment Act) is often a lesson in futility. People believe the hype about the placement rates and are bitterly disappointed when these jobs do not materialize. http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/
It has been proven, time and time again, that in a recession such as we are experiencing right now, the people that have been downsized that have EXPERIENCE will get the jobs before a newly minted certified _____________ (fill in the blank) will. This just makes more sense to the employer. If Johnny has experience as a truck driver and has been doing it for years, accident free, he has an advantage over Joey who just recently graduated with his CDL license and has never worked as a truck driver before. An article in USA Today underscores exactly this line of thinking. http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010-06-04-retrain04_CV_N.htm?csp=obinsite
Stay tuned for part two to find out what type of training may actually be beneficial to you as a job seeker.