In this extremely tough job market, many people have come to realize that there are several types of jobs that are very hard to come by and many others that have simply disappeared and are not expected to return. This means that thousands of unemployed and under-employed workers must find a way to re-train themselves in order to re-enter the workforce.
This is a devastating reality to face, especially for those who are in their 40s, 50s & 60s and have been gainfully employed their whole lives, but now find themselves among the millions who have been out of work for up to two or even three years. As Mike Thornton, the Rochester Unemployment Examiner wrote in his recent article, ‘Glenn Beck slams 99ers: “I’d bet you’d be ashamed to call them Americans’,
“…according to the BLS there were 2.9 million job openings on the last business day of June 2010. And there are nearly 15 million unemployed and another 10 million underemployed likely looking for new jobs. A simple calculation shows that there are 8.62 people looking for each available job”.
Not only does this clearly indicate that there are nowhere near enough jobs to put all of the unemployed back to work, it also clearly indicates that landing a job is a very competitive endeavor – one which requires that all job seekers do everything they can to ensure that their job skills are up to speed and comparable to those of other job seekers.
In an effort to help those who need to obtain new job skills or would like to enhance their skills, Microsoft has teamed up with many states to help the unemployed and under-employed enhance their skill sets by offering free and low-cost training vouchers to individuals who want to learn how to use a variety of Microsoft operating systems and Office applications. The program, called “Microsoft Elevate America” also offers the ability to not only complete online training programs, but also an opportunity to become a ‘Microsoft certified’ user of many applications.
As part of the huge collections of Microsoft training & development programs, there are many different certificates which can be obtained by successfully passing proctored Microsoft certification exams. Obtaining certification credentials is a great way to boost your resume and increase your chances of landing that very elusive job in this unprecedented economic downturn and tight job market.
The program is available in several states, many of which are still issuing vouchers. Sadly, Colorado is among the states that have already distributed all available vouchers (in CO, there were a total of 5500 available vouchers). While I had not learned about this program until yesterday, the CLDE announced this program in a press released dated Jan 4, 2010. According to the Microsoft site, Colorado has distributed all available vouchers as of April 26, 2010.
In other words, the are so many people looking to upgrade their skills in an effort to find even entry-level work, this program was fully utilized throughout the state in just over three months. I have asked the CLDE if there is any hope additional vouchers might become available in CO and will update readers with any additional information I receive.
There are some very good training programs offered through the CDLE and the local workforce centers. I will also be publishing more about the W.I.A. (Workforce Investment Act) training program – another program which has been available to unemployed workers throughout the country as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (A.R.R.A.) in the days to come. Please contact your state’s labor & employment offices or local workforce centers to learn more about programs that may be available in your states.
Microsoft is an exemplary example of what ‘investing in America and in the American worker” ideology is all about. Companies all across the country who are operating as a result of the tax-payer funded bailout – also known as T.A.R.P. (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and are reporting record earnings along with exhorbitant amounts paid in executive’s salaries and bonuses, should be made to follow suit.
It is baffling that Congress continues to allow Wall Street firms and many of the banking & insurance companies to continue operating under the ‘status quo’ instead of being required, by law, to eliminate the excessive salaries, bonuses and other misuse of their company profits and to begin lending the hoards of cash reported to be on their balance sheets to America’s small businesses.
These firms in particular should be required, by law to:
– support the U.S. economy and the American workers by no longer outsourcing millions of jobs overseas;
– no longer have an ability to capitalize on counter-productive U.S. trade and tax policies;
– be held accountable in cases of fraud – in both criminal and civil courts;
– reinvest earnings in reserach and development and create private sector , U.S. – based, long term jobs.
Instead, Congress goes on vacation as the number of persons applying for unemployment benefits is increasing and the number of discouraged and under-employed American workers continues to increase – and as the number of unemployed Americans exhausting all unemployment benfits is also increasing at a very rapid pace.