Well, here we go with what I'm hoping to be an every-Wednesday contribution to The Job Stalker blog by Gordon Dymowski. He certainly brings a different view to the issues surrounding the job search, with his background in (and passion for) non-profits, which has him highlighting things that would likely have never made it onto my "marketing communications" radar. In this week's piece he's taking a look at programs out there for job seekers (and others) to sharpen their current skills, or develop whole new areas of competence.
Sometimes, the answers we need are right in front of us - we just don't know where to look.
I was heading home from the local branch of the public library when I came across a sign in the window of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture. It was a series of trainings specifically for small businesses put on by St. Xavier University, 63rd Street Center, and the Greater Southwest Development Corporation. Granted, it was a way to drive economic development in the area, but for me it mean two things: a new opportunity to network, and a chance to develop my business development skills.
There has been a sharp increase in conversation around unemployed workers seeking job training to increase their ability to stay competitive in the market, especially since this was part of President Obama's overall plan. (It is not just the totally jobless either - one of my online pals, Pattie, also expressed interest in "sharpening the saw", to use Stephen Covey's terminology. She was gracious enough to answer an e-mail call for topic suggestions, which is why today's post is about job training) are interested in finding relatively low-cost resources.
Obviously, there are the many Chicago community colleges that provide such services. There is such a great need that the city college system is actively "reinventing" itself to meet those needs. Granted, not everyone has access to community colleges (I'm fortunate enough to be a bus ride away from Daley College), but many non-profits, despite the state's financial issues, receive funding in order to provide job training. (Although it might be good to see whether a recent state funding initiative may come to pass).
In addition, there are plenty of free resources for locating job training resources. Thankfully, the state has a website that summarizes a multitude of workforce-related information into one place. In addition, there are resources for people seeking training towards entering the food or tech industries. But finally, there is an organization called Communiteach, which encourages people to share their passions and provide small group trainings.
(Brief disclaimer/personal note - I have done some Communiteach sessions on resume writing and community organizing, and have found them excellent. In addition, I will also be dusting off an old "Argument Clinic" presentation and delivering it at the Learnapalooza festival in Wicker Park on Saturday, June 25th. For more information, visit their web site at http://www.learnapaloozachi.com/.)
Despite some relief, there still appears to be, according to a recent Time commentary, "a disconnect between economic recovery and economic growth". Part of spanning that, the writer argues, will be in helping the currently unemployed expand their skill set.
Hopefully, this post has been a small effort towards doing precisely that.