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Where to Find Free or Low-Cost Job Training

Where to Find Free or Low-Cost Job Training

Given the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate and a reported mismatch between job skills and job opportunities, there’s a huge need for job training and career education. While many private-sector career-training services can be cost-prohibitive, you can still find many sources of free or low-cost training. Here are some to check out:

Uncle Sam

The Department of Labor’s 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers operate in all 50 states. These stimulus-funded centers offer free classes in computers and basic academic skills, as well as career counseling, information on available jobs and other employment services.

The Labor Department’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program provides workers in manufacturing, farming and production who lose their jobs to overseas competition with up to 104 weeks of paid job training and remedial education, as well as weekly cash payments for up to a year after their unemployment benefits run out.

Apprenticeship programs are not sponsored by the government, but the Labor Department’s Web site lists hundreds of apprenticeship programs nationwide, ranging from chef to dental assistant to pipe fitter. With apprenticeships, you essentially receive paid job training. You won’t get rich, but you’ll have a foot in the door when a permanent job opens up.

Government programs come and go. To find out what government career and training benefits you may be eligible for, go to

Higher Education

If you’re an alum of nearly any two-year college, four-year college or trade school, you can access a wide variety of career services, usually for free, at your alma mater.

If you’re entering college and you’re unemployed, you can obtain grants and loans through Federal Student Aid. You may also qualify for scholarships. Check with your intended school’s financial aid office for all the possible sources of assistance.

Private Industry

Do you belong to a union or professional association? Call your union rep or professional group in your field. They may have programs to help jump-start your job search or even provide you with thousands in tuition assistance. In addition, try:
  • Goodwill: The community-based organization offers help with job searches, resume writing and interviewing, and many Goodwill locations offer temp jobs at their business or government contract work sites. Goodwill Community Foundation International also offers free online classes in Microsoft Office programs, basic Internet technologies and more.
  • Elevate America: Microsoft offers no- and low-cost online training to help people boost their technology skills.
  • WorkSearch Information Network: Using a grant from the Labor Department, AARP’s WorkSearch Information Network job training and placement program offers a variety of free services for job seekers ages 55 and older. If you qualify, AARP staff will help you update your resume and find and follow up on job leads.
  • SCORE: A resource partner with the US Small Business Administration, SCORE provides entrepreneurs and small business owners, or those who want to own a business, with free career education and business counseling. SCORE also hosts local workshops and events throughout the country. It offers online workshops as well.
  • Monster: You can stay right on this site and take free online classes in office technologies, management skills and more.

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