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The STEPS Online Guide to
Placement, and Training
Whether chronically unemployed or recently laid off due to COVID-19, knowing where to
turn next can help you land the steady work you want, and get temporary assistance until
you find it. Get key information on securing unemployment benefits, job placement
services, and training for a new career in demand.
Last Updated: 08/14/2020
Meet the Expert
Alex is the Director of Special Projects and Initiatives, where she works to implement cross-program projects and drive new nutrition and anti-hunger strategic initiatives at the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).
You’ve lost your job. It could’ve been a layoff, an error at work, or any number of unfortunate reasons. If you live alone, you may not have a support system to fall back on as you weather the storm and land your next gig. And if you’re supporting a family, you have food, clothes, bills, and rent to think about. Unemployment can be nasty, especially when the economy is in a downturn.
The good news is, anyone who loses their job has options. If you know about them, you might be well on your way to making your next job a reality. But if you’re not sure where to turn, whom to talk to, or even what resources and support programs are out there – this guide is for you. If you or someone you know has found themselves on the wrong side of a layoff, read on to learn about some of the best employment, financial assistance, job placement, and training opportunities available today.
Unemployment: The Big Picture
Low unemployment stimulates the community. The more people who have gainful employment, the higher consumer spending — increased earnings lead to higher rates of consumption. Even owners of small businesses feel the impacts of low unemployment and higher consumer spending on a small but significant scale due to the increase in money circulating in the marketplace. The localized stimulation of the economy allows businesses to develop more products and improve their services.
But what happens when a family loses an income? When the primary (or sole) breadwinner gets laid off and is forced to scramble to make ends meet? In addition to the potential of missing a meal or bouncing a rent check, depression, anxiety, and stress can hurt everyone involved. Children are especially sensitive to changes in their environments and may experience increased negative emotions. There might also be a change in their school performance, concentration, and general behavior.
Unemployment Financial Assistance and Relief
If you find yourself unemployed or underemployed, help is available. A number of public assistance programs can get you and your family the help you need when and where you need it. The first step is to understand your options — which resources make the most sense for you and your loved ones during this tough time. To start you on the right path, here are three key programs you can use to land a new job and/or receive a little financial assistance until you’re back on your feet.
Job Placement and Training Support
Financial assistance such as unemployment checks and TANF aren’t meant to last forever. For those unable to work, there are programs such as SSI, but for people eager and able to get back to work, several programs are available. We are only scratching the surface here. Your state has comprehensive services to help you get back to work. The list below is just a sample of the programs available.
Unemployment Assistance for Veterans
In 2019, there were more than 284,000 unemployed veterans, or 3.1%, in the U.S. These numbers have jumped recently because of the Coronavirus pandemic. As of March 2020, the percentage of unemployed veterans has risen to 3.8%. If you are an unemployed veteran, there are a number of resources where you can seek assistance and relief now and in the future.
Veteran and Military Transition Center at CareerOneStopYou can find information on federal-state unemployment insurance programs and relief options related to the Coronavirus.
Veterans Jobs MissionThis organization is composed of 230 private sector companies that have pledged to hire at least 100,000 veterans by 2020. Today, they have hired more than 500,000 veterans at leading companies such as DuPont, General Motors, and IBM.
VFW Uniting to Combat HungerUnemployment can cause drastic issues for veterans, including food insecurity. Nearly 25% of the nation’s active-duty and Reserve personnel rely on food pantries regularly, and these numbers are worse during times of high unemployment and pandemics such as the Coronavirus.
Unemployment Assistance for Workers Over 50
It is an unfortunate reality that many workers over 50 years of age have a harder time finding work after they’ve been laid off or fired than younger folks. Here are some resources to help older adults locate employment and training opportunities to get back to work.
AARP Back to Work 50+AARP’s Back to Work 50+ initiative provides economic opportunities, social connectedness, and legal advocacy for older adults currently in or re-entering the workforce. Additionally, they can take advantage of a number of skills workshops and training opportunities to be more competitive in the job market for in-demand positions.
CareerOneStop Older Worker Program FinderThe U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop offers a useful search engine for older adults who want to locate contact information for potential employers in their state. Many of the organizations and agencies on these lists have strong regional or national ties, including Goodwill and regional human resource agencies.
Senior Job BankThis organization specializes in bringing older adult job-seekers with employers. Users can search for jobs online or find continuing education or opportunities in their states if they’re considering a change in occupation or industry.
Unemployment Assistance for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities who have been laid off or let go because of situations beyond their control may have a more difficult time finding another job than many of us think. The impact of the Coronavirus, for example, has shown the devastating effects on the financial and personal health of people with disabilities and their families. Here are a few supportive organizations that can help people with disabilities get back on the right track to employment while taking care of themselves.
Access LivingThis organization offers a wide variety of online resources for individuals with disabilities who are affected by the Coronavirus. Users can get more information on relief funds, self-care, employment, transportation options, housing, and more.
The Arc.orgThe Arc offers a number of robust services for individuals with disabilities, including employment services and resources for people with disabilities, families, and service providers.
National Disability InstituteThe NDI offers a range of useful resources than focus on the financial resources to help people with disabilities and their families get through the Coronavirus pandemic. Check out its Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development for more information on financial assistance options.
Remote Career Q&A: A Hedge Against Unemployment?
We’ll always need workers in the service industries to keep our country moving forward with essential services, but Coronavirus has made face-to-face work less stable and predictable. Telecommuting is for readers who might be interested in transitioning to a remote job or supplementing their public-facing jobs with remote work.
Insight from an Employment Expert
Sophie Jones is a recruiter for Creative Circle in Nashville, TN. She specializes in connecting candidates and clients in the creative world.