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How To Update Your Skills On The Cheap


Depending on the work you  want to pursue and the length of time that you have been out of the workforce, your skills may need to be updated.

Find out what the current skill set is which is required for the work you want to do.

  • Check with people you know who perform similar jobs.
  • If you belong to a union, ask the union.
  • Look at ads on line, in newspapers and other periodicals which list the qualifications needed for the job in which you're interested.
  • If you worked for an employer with a Human Resources (HR) department, speak with the person with whom you've been working. If you are receiving a disability income from the employer or from an insurance policy that was offered by the employer, start the conversation by letting the person know that you are still disabled. Then add that you are trying to think ahead in case you need to update your skills before you can return to work. (The employer may even have an inexpensive way for you to get the updates you need.)  

Identify the programs that will help you increase your skills.

  • If You Are Receiving Income From Social Security: Social Security has a program to help people acquire skills to return to work. For more information, see Social Security TWWIIA.
  • If You Are Receiving Disability Income From An Insurance Company Or Employer: Most insurance companies have rehabilitation benefits for people collecting disability benefits. Use their programs with caution. For more information, see Disability Insurance - Return to Work.
  • If You Need Help Getting Ready To Return To Work: You may qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation which will assess where you are, what you need to learn, and pay for your getting it. To learn more, see, Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • If You Are Age 55 Or Older: Check out The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP can help you acquire the skills you need if you meet income requirements. For more information, see The Senior Community Service Employment Program.
  • If None Of The Above Programs Work For You: Consider taking classes on your own. You may qualify for scholarships, or there may be low-cost courses that work for you. In addition to checking local schools, there may be courses available on the internet which you can take as and when you're feeling up to it. A social worker or a local disease specific not-for-profit organization may have information for you. You can take college courses on line. To find participating schools, see: offsite link

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