Job Retraining Programs: How To Get Retrained On The Cheap

adult learning careerBefore you get too eager to line up for the free money, it's only fair to tell you that even if retraining is free, you incur a big cost: your time.

And unfortunately, job retraining programs have a poor record of being worth your time. A 2008 Labor Department study found that some federal job training programs offered little benefits for laid-off workers, according to a New York Times article. That doesn't mean that the program you select won't help you, but it does mean you better be a savvy shopper:

Picking a program: Ask an official from a prospective training program, "Within six months of completing your program, what percentage of the graduates are employed at a living wage doing what you trained them to do?" Follow up with "Would you give me the names of a few of those employers so I can get a sense of what the job market will be like for me when I finish the program?"

Call those employers to learn that and to see if employers hire only a small fraction of graduates who applied, if most hiring is just low-pay temp work, and/or if most of those hired have already been let go.

Sit in on a class. Do you sense that such instruction will make you much more employable? After class or during a break, ask students, "How would you rate the program?" and "What should I know about the program that might not appear in the official brochure?"

More: On-The-Job Training: Jobs That Require No College Degree

With that consumer advice in mind, here are fertile grounds for finding free or low-cost job retraining -- compliments of the taxpayer, corporations or wealthy individuals:

American Job Centers: The Federal government has 3,000 brick-and-mortar American Job Centers (formerly called OneStops) that are, well, one-stop shops for a wide range of federal-, state, and local taxpayer-funded programs offering free or low-cost training plus a panoply of other services for job seekers: from career counseling to resume advice to even child care referrals. To find the one nearest you, go to

Private scholarships: Corporations and wealthy individuals donate lots of money every year to pay for job retraining. Searchable databases of such grants are at ($19.95 for 1 month's access). Also search general scholarship databases such as the free and Too, check with local corporations' foundations and service clubs, for example, Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis. They sometimes pay for local residents' retraining. ExperienceWorks, with hundreds of offices in 30 states, not only provides free job training but minimum wage employment for thousands of low-income seniors.

Community colleges: A major function of the community college is to provide low-cost career training. Your local college(s) may offer programs that prepare you for careers that are in-demand locally. Often, community colleges charge less than $100 a course and if you apply for taxpayer-paid financial aid, you may get even that paid for, plus money for living expenses!

Tax breaks: The tax break most often useful for adults seeking retraining is the Lifetime Learning Credit. As long as your income is less than $63,000 for a single person or $127,000 for a couple, you get a tax credit of 20 percent of $10,000 of your qualified education expenses ... every year!

Military money: If you served on active duty for at least 90 days since Sept. 10, 2001, you and maybe your dependents (!) can get money that may cover all tuition and fees plus a housing stipend! The Department of Veterans Affairs offers more info.

You U: If you're a self-starter, the best option of all may be what I call You U: a self- and mentor-designed combination of individualized reading, classes, volunteering, and entry-level work at the elbow of a pro. Not only is it free, it's totally customized to you: You and your mentor select the content, the pace, and what sorts of ways of learning best fit you -- reading, listening, hands-on, etc.

Start by asking one or two people who do your desired work for suggestions for what you might read, classes you might take, conferences you might attend, places you should volunteer or take an entry-level job, and even whether you might work as his or her assistant. Keep a record of all you've done at You U and submit that along with your job applications and you may be more impressive than someone who received the often theoretical training at a university.

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Sory, here's the link [money for study ] (

May 28 2013 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cool tips man! Also try to ask some organizations, e.g. Rotary and to use finders like [money for study (]

May 28 2013 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for the great information. Re-Training is timely and needed in order to stay on marketable. I come from a technical background and re-training and certification was/is a part of life for me. I then moved in sales because I wanted to make more money. The sales(influence) profession is often overlooked but is one of the highest paid professions in the world. The National Association of Sales Professionals( has a sales training and certification track that is low-cost and recognized by employers. I would even recommend it to anyone who deals with customers on a daily basis.

March 05 2013 at 8:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

WTH???? Why do they say "click here" to see the top skills that will get you a job & then when you click on it, the page has NOTHING to do with that?! I think if you're looking for a job, like everyone who clicks on this, you already have been through everything that is possible for you to try. I sick of being jacked around!!!

March 04 2013 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ctcat781's comment

Thanks for alerting us! There was an error on the home page. They mixed up the links on the home page. Here's the story you're looking for: In the meantime, I've alerted the desk and hope it will be fixed shortly!!

March 04 2013 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They are hiring bill collectors

March 04 2013 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is typical of AOL. I click on one topic and that topic doesn't really exist. Stupid. I was looking for the Seven Skills Needed in this New Job Market. Nope. Got this article every time.

March 04 2013 at 6:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to clt7777's comment

Hey, there was a mistake made on the home page. They mixed up the links! Here's the story you were looking for.
In the meantime, the home page will be fixing this any second! Thanks again.

March 04 2013 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was in the "beauty business" and when the economy took a dive so did disposible income allowing manicures, pedicures, facials and massage. I went to the community college and talked to people and started training to be a CNA/Med Tech. The same week I took my state board testing I had a job interview and got the job and have been working ever since for over 3 years now. Like the article said if you don't care enough to take care of yourself and look to the government to do it for you then you are just lazy. I was 59 years old when I started this retraining and worked all day and went to school at night. People who don't work don't want to work just whine.

March 03 2013 at 11:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lucindarosec's comment

judgmental much?

March 03 2013 at 3:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This article makes you feel like there is not much hope. As for education most of us cant afford it unless we are very low income. Then once we get past that we look at our age and think is there even a shot. So most of us make the best of what we have and work from there out.

March 03 2013 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

No such thing unless you are very low income. Education is expensive, no guarantees, that is why you must choose your degree wisely, esp today with so few careers in the entry level category. Everyone wants experience in addition to education so many people will never see a career even with 2, 4, 6, 8 years of education.

March 03 2013 at 10:34 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

those federally funded "job centers, formerly one stops" are a joke. i have first hand experience and can assure you that far more money goes to the over head costs associated with the operation than to actually providing any job training. those programs are motivated by numbers and those numbers have no connection to how many people got training or were placed in jobs.

these centers have gone from operating on a personal counseling level to a one size fits all approach that basically involves putting your name in a computer data base in hopes of matching you with a job opening. it depends on an employer's willingness to list jobs there and in most cases that never happens.

there is so much b.s. about "employer driven system" which simply defies reality.

congress needs to get a reality check on where these dollars are going. then they should totally tear down the current system and start over again, this time without input from the people who are making the big bucks "administering" the current system, most of whom work for so-called not-for-profit companies.

March 03 2013 at 8:35 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to paintppa1's comment

or you get 3 job s and then call to find out they were filled weeks ago....I have even seen the scam insurance agent if you pay $200, $300, $400 for their licensing course "jobs" on the database.

March 03 2013 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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