7 ways your local job center can help
New rules require the longtime unemployed to visit a One-Stop Career Center in person in order to keep receiving jobless benefits. But that can be a good thing.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
About 12.7 million Americans were unemployed last month -- and 5.4 million of them had been jobless for six months or more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The job market is grim, and those without work need unemployment benefits to bridge the gap. Now, new rules passed by Congress have set additional requirements to get those checks.
Those who collect extended federal unemployment benefits after their state benefits -- generally 26 weeks -- have expired are required to visit a One-Stop Career Center in person. But it's not all bad. In the video below, Stacy Johnson explains why. Then read on for more information about the services career centers provide.
It may feel like a career center is holding your unemployment check hostage but, as Stacy pointed out in the video, centers have job-seeking tools, training, and other resources to help you find another job -- maybe a better job. Here's a sample of what an appointment can get you:
A staffer will assess your job-hunting skills. This may include reviewing your resume and your salary expectations to see how realistic they are, and providing tailor-made pointers on your job hunt. Having a second pair of eyes is helpful, especially if you've been unemployed for a while.
Job hunting resources
At home, you have local newspapers, references from family and friends, and job posting sites like CareerBuilder and Monster. But career centers are another job-lead resource. Many career centers keep a database of available jobs you can browse and apply for.
Some career centers offer free workshops aimed at helping you find a new job. For example, the center Stacy visited was holding a workshop on résumé writing. There are also specialized workshops for disabled workers and veterans.
Most office jobs require at least some computer knowledge. If your skills are rusty, your local career center offers free courses on computer basics and training on programs like Microsoft Word and Excel.
As Stacy said in the video, career centers can connect you with programs that pay for training you can use to change careers or learn new skills in your industry. For example, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services offers training in the hospitality industry. Upon completion of the nine-week program, you receive an industry-accepted certificate and a 90-day externship.
One-Stop Career Centers regularly host free job fairs that can attract employers from dozens of different industries.
You might not think of an employment center as a hot spot for networking, but it's actually a great place to meet people who can help, including the professional job hunters who work on your case, and the business owners and others who teach training seminars or visit the career center to post jobs. Finally, build a relationship with other clients now, and they may help you find a job somewhere down the road. Some centers host networking days.
If you're unemployed and looking for more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.org. The site has tools that can help you, including job postings, information on training courses and salaries, and location of job centers.
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