Career Transition Education Resources
Career transition can be a daunting process for many workers who are unsatisfied with their current careers, or who find that their skills are becoming outdated. Colleges and universities, state job service agencies, private companies, and even some employers are all ready to help workers by offering job training, tools for job searching, and tips for interviewing and writing effective résumés and cover letters. Resources are also available for workers transitioning into retirement or for those who are considering starting a small business.
Keywords Adult Education; Career Assessment; Career Counseling; Career Counselor; Career Transition; Corporate Takeover; Downsizing; Lifelong Learning; Mock Interview; Outsourcing; Small Business Development Center; Training; Workforce
Adult Education: Career Transition Education Resources
In previous generations, most people spent their adult lives working for a single company and expected to remain at that company until retirement. Only in a few fields, such as dance or professional sports, were career transitions deemed natural, because, after a certain age, the professionals could no longer physically perform what was required of them. Today this is no longer the case.
The workplace has become rapidly changing environment. In the wake of downsizing, restructuring, corporate takeovers, and outsourcing, jobs that were once believed to offer lifelong job security no longer have such guarantees. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that over 21,000 employees were laid off and almost 2.5 million people filed for unemployment insurance – the largest number of people to do so in 30 years. The 2007-2009 recession and global financial crisis were accompanied by massive layoffs in the United States. In 2012, after a prolonged contraction of the economy, hiring increased modestly and company downsizing leveled off somewhat. Even so, 12.2 million people were unemployed (Williamson, 2012). Company relocations, mergers, and technological advances often result in job loss. In the past, the unemployed tended to be stigmatized. However, as more and more workers go through job loss, unemployment is becoming more acceptable. It is no longer seen as always being the individual's fault. With this change in perception, it is easier for adults with the necessary skills to make a transition from one job to another (Gale, 2003).
Because of the volatile job market, many adults have had to either voluntarily or involuntarily reevaluate their careers. For some, this can be a time of opportunity. Regardless of how a career transition happens, there are many resources to help adults acquire the skills and knowledge needed to begin a new career. Some of these resources are offered by government or social service agencies, some are available through colleges and universities in the form of education and other support services, some come in the form of partnerships, and some are even offered by employers.
State and local job service agencies are one resource for adults considering a career change. Many now have websites that anyone can access. These sites have links to local newspapers, employer websites, job postings, labor market information, and other resources. Local job service offices advertise state and federal government openings as well as local job openings, and most offices update their listings daily. Job service offices may also offer computers with software packages that can help clients create résumés and cover letters, as well as internet access so clients can search online job postings. Most offices also have career libraries. These services are offered free of charge.
States can also use workforce development funds to improve local and regional economies through job training, job retraining, unemployment insurance, and other benefits. For example, if voters pass a table gaming bill allowing card games and roulette to be played at establishments that already offer video slot machines, a specialized workforce will be needed. A gaming establishment may already have employees and be willing to pay for their training and certification at a local college, but new employees will also be needed to fill the new jobs. A state workforce development office may cover the training and certification costs for other, unemployed adults in an effort to help them gain employment.
The federal Small Business Administration also provides resources for entrepreneurs through its Small Business Development Center Program, which is designed to give help, both technical and managerial, to current and prospective small business owners.
Colleges and universities can also provide useful resources. For workers who do not like their jobs and are thinking of making a career change, or for those who are no longer employed, many colleges have career centers with professional counselors who can help workers assess their skills and interests to determine what professions may be best. Counselors can administer interest inventories, assist with résumé development, help their clients write an effective cover letter, and conduct mock interviews. Career centers may also offer internet access, or a career library. Career centers or community and continuing education departments may also offer career development workshops on topics like résumé writing, career planning, interviewing, networking, stress management, leadership skills, effective communication, and job search techniques. These workshops are usually presented free of charge if offered through a college's career center or placement office. However, there may be a nominal fee if the workshops are offered through a community and continuing education department.
Career centers can also help adults who are preparing for retirement but would like to continue working after they retire. These adults can speak with a counselor about what aspects of their current position they like and what aspects they would rather avoid in a new position.
Some businesses work with private companies to develop transition programs which will prepare their employees to move into other positions in the company. These companies come to the business or train off-site at their own offices or a hotel. They charge on either a per-person basis or by the group. Private companies can also assist businesses through a staff reduction by providing assessment and guidance services to people who will be losing their jobs. They can provide career assessment through computerized and paper-and-pencil inventories, offer career planning and exploration, and help with goal setting. They can also design and present customized workshops for the affected employees, help them with résumé and cover letter development, and provide appropriate feedback.
Today, many employers are seeing the benefits of offering career transition services internally. Internal services can save a company money on recruitment, training, and outplacement costs. By providing career transition services, these employers can also define their own career paths for future consideration and for the recruitment of new employees. And the career counseling they provide can not only lessen the stress of downsizing – and thereby mitigate negative publicity – but also train current employees for new jobs within the company (Kleiman, 1985, as cited in Boulmetis, 1997).
In order to offer these services, companies must...
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