If you're unemployed, new rules require in-person visits to re-employment centers in order to continue receiving benefits. But that may not be a bad thing.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its June Employment Situation Summary. According to that study, 12.7 million people in the United States were unemployed last month – and 5.4 million of them have been unemployed for 6 months or more.
For a lot of people, the job market is grim, and they need unemployment checks to bridge the gap – but new rules passed by Congress may make those checks harder to come by.
The new rules are part of an overhaul of the federal unemployment insurance program. Now, if you want to collect federal unemployment insurance checks, you’ll need to visit a one-stop career center in person.
But it’s not all bad. In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains why. Check it out, then read on for more information about career centers and the services they provide…
It may feel like a career center is holding your unemployment check hostage, but as Stacy pointed out in the video, they 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…
1. Personal assessment
When you meet with an agent, they’ll assess you and your job-hunting skills. This may include reviewing your resume and your salary expectations to see how realistic you are. The agent will also give you some tailor-made pointers on your job hunt. Having a second pair of eyes is helpful, especially if you’ve been unemployed for a while. Things may have changed since the last time you looked for a job.
2. Job hunting resources
At home, you’ve got local newspapers, references from your family and friends, and job posting sites like CareerBuilder and Monster. But career centers are another job-lead resource – one you can only tap if you visit. Many career centers keep a database of available jobs you can browse and apply to.
Some career centers offer free workshops aimed at helping you find a new job. For example, the center Stacy visited had a workshop in process for resume writing. There are also specialized workshops for disabled workers and veterans.
4. Skill courses
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. Once you take the course, you can use the new skills to beef up your resume.
As Stacy said in the video, career centers have programs that offer up to $8,200 for outside training that you can use to change career paths or learn new skills in your industry. For example, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services offers a Hospitality Program that runs nine weeks. Upon completion of the program, you receive an industry-accepted certificate and a 90-day externship.
And that’s just one example. Career centers offer lots of training programs. You could learn medical transcription, accounting, or even carpentry.
6. Job fairs
One-stop career centers host regular job fairs. These fairs attract employers from dozens of different industries – and they’re free to attend.
You might not think of an employment center as a hotspot for networking, but your local career center is actually a great place to meet other professionals.
First, you have the agents who work on your case – they’re professional job hunters. Then you’ve got business owners, managers, and other professionals who teach training seminars or visit the career center to post jobs. Finally, there are your fellow unemployed visitors. Build a relationship with them now, and they may help you find a job somewhere down the road.
Some centers even host networking days, where you can meet with other professionals in your industry.
If you’re unemployed and looking for more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop.org. The site has tons of tools that can help you – like job postings, information on available training courses, salary info, and re-employment center location information.