Are you considering returning to school to change your career or gain new skills for a better job? My friend Rose is too. Rose is turning fifty-five, and has been working a full time job that’s physically demanding. She realizes, in the future, it’s likely she won’t be able to keep up with the job’s physical demands, and she also realizes she needs to maintain the same level of income until she retires.
In an effort to figure out what she should do for work, Rose completed self-assessments, researched jobs, conducted informational interviews, and decided on a new career. She learned about the skills and certification that she would need to be a successful Medical Records/Health Information Technician. Rose found a for-profit career school who could provide her with the training needed and set her up with financial aid and student loans to pay for it.
Rose took all the right steps when it came to making a career change. Although, she wasn’t aware that there are local resources that might help her pay for her education and community colleges that offer the same program at a lesser cost.
I shared the resources listed below with Rose and today she is enrolled at a community college and saving in an Individual Development Account to pay for her education. Making a good career decision takes time and effort. The good news is there are programs here in New Hampshire to help you with not only the decision, but finding ways to pay for it without taking on large amounts of debt. Whether you’re like Rose, and considering a total career change, or looking to update your skills to be more marketable, check out these local programs to get started.
WIOA (Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act): The WIOA provides employment counselors at each NH Works office throughout the state to offer services to eligible individuals looking to work full-time including:
- Career Assessment
- Education and Training Opportunities
- Paid on the Job Training
- Support Services (such as daycare, transportation, and job training funds)
Further information, including a list of counselors and numbers can be found at: www.snhs.org/programs/workforce-development/workforce-investment-act-wia.
Vocational Rehabilitation: Vocational Rehabilitation assists people with disabilities achieve their full or part-time employment goals. To explore what VR has to offer call your local VR office and sign-up for a group program orientation. To find the office closest to you go to: http://education.nh.gov/career/vocational/.
NH Works: NH Works provides education and training resources to help individuals accomplish their full or part-time employment goals. A list of training programs and colleges offered in New Hampshire can be found on their website, along with links to New Hampshire’s community colleges and universities. www.nhworks.org/job-seekers/education-and-training/.
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs): IDAs are matched savings accounts that help you save to pay for attending an accredited school. With an IDA, you can save up to $500 of your earned income and have it matched 8 to 1 for a total of $4,500 toward tuition. This program is administered by the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund through a network of partners, including New Hampshire Housing. Income and eligibility requirements apply. For further information, go to www.nhclf.org/how-we-help/ida.
The Medallion Fund: This is a scholarship offered through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF) for students of any age who are pursuing short-term vocational or technical studies in fields as automotive technology, plumbing, heating, construction, advanced manufacturing, computer repair, licensed nursing assistant, etc. For an application, as well as a list of other scholarships offered through NHCF go to www.nhcf.org/how-can-we-help-you/apply-for-a-scholarship/.