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 Articles and Advice

 Do You Have a Training Need?

By Joe Stein

For many Job Seekers, pending or actual unemployment is the driving force to evaluating their current skills. This often results in an age-old Job Seeker dilemma about whether or not to pursue some type of training in order to make him or herself more marketable.
If you were wondering whether you should pursue some training, the results of a recent WNYJOBS website poll should speak volumes to you. This poll indicates a clear relationship regarding the role of training and a job search.
·         We asked Job Seekers, “Do you feel you need to be re-trained to keep working in the current economy?” You responded in record numbers with your thoughts:
o        41% said “YES, to keep working or to advance my career”.
o        35% stated “NO, I have the education/training”.
o        16% responded “POSSIBLY, but not sure at this time”.
o        8% had No Opinion
So, 57% of the Job Seekers responding in WNY either see the immediate or potential need for some training.  Those individuals are attempting to make themselves more competitive in this challenging economic environment. Amazingly, 35% don’t see the need for anything right now. I am hoping for the best with this group, as my experience would have me conclude that the majority of this satisfied group will be in for a rude awakening during the job search. Very rarely, is there absolutely nothing a Job Seeker could learn that would not provide them a competitive advantage in their search.
·         On the flip side, we polled Employers regarding who they hired (or preferred to hire).
o        30% stated College Degreed Applicants
o        23% responded Skilled Trade Applicants
o        14% focus on Applicants with a Certification
o        32% do not need a degree and/or prior training
When employers had a chance to respond, 67% of them indicated that they are requiring some form of education/training from Job Seekers. It may be a college degree or, just as likely, it is some type of skill obtained by either a trade school or a certification. The 32% not requiring a degree and/or training are probably primarily entry-level positions with many being part-time.
There are many avenues a Job Seeker can explore to obtain the training needed to provide them with a competitive advantage. Many of those listed below can be found advertising either on the website or in WNYJOBS’ weekly newspaper.
·         Government – There are a variety of possible government options, ranging from the Adult Education classes offered by your local government, to more formal programs available from federal or state agencies. The state will offer specific re-employment training to those who qualify, in an attempt to develop a new skill that will make the person more marketable.
·         Military – For those with longer-term planning, the military can be a valuable way to either learn a skilled trade, or earn money to pay for education once enlistment has ended.
·         Drivers School – For those who are considering becoming an “over the road” (Class A) driver, there are area institutions that will develop you for passing the Class A driver licensing.
·         Career Training Schools – There are several who advertise regularly with These schools focus on skill development in areas such Medical Billing/Coding, Paralegals, and Office Technology. The idea is to learn a specific skill that can be directly applied in the work environment
·         BOCES – An even more focused approach, compared to a Career Training School, BOCES is a way to learn a trade such as cosmetology, or auto repair.
·         Computer Education – If you find yourself needing to improve your knowledge of a specific computer program, then there are companies that offer a “one-off” course. If you have been working for your employer for any length of time, chances are there is some type of computer program that you need to learn.
Unless there is a definite fear of being overqualified, then there is little downside to pursuing additional education. If you complete your training, it will provide you just a little bit more ammunition in your search. If you are currently pursuing something relevant to your previous role, but not finished, it will indicate to the Hiring Manager how serious you are about keeping your skills current. 
Finally, if you are thinking of changing fields, then Career Training is a must in order to give yourself a fighting chance Rarely will an employer want to invest that much time in training a new hire upon their arrival (especially in this plentiful labor market).  
Anyway you examine the scenarios; the pursuit of some additional education/training may be just what you need to land that career you have been dreaming about.
As always, best of luck in your job search.