Published on 2012/07/20

Learning! The Jump Start to Your Next Career

While unemployment is becoming a reality for increasing numbers of people, higher education geared toward a particular job could help jump start a new career. Photo by Al Ibrahim.

Look to Community Colleges, Career Schools and For-Profit Institutions for Associate Degrees.

In Monday’s article, I discussed Trade Schools as a viable way to restart a stalled career due to jobs being eliminated, automated, or outsourced prior to and during this recession. Since then, our GDP trend in the US has been adjusted downward nearing 1% annual growth rate. Unemployment remained high between 5 % and 12%, depending on where you live and your education qualifications, and will likely increase for seasonal adjustments next month.

However, don’t be discouraged by all the bad news, because the number of open jobs for certain skilled labor isn’t declining. In fact, it will likely increase. The question is what education is needed to redirect your opportunities. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been out of work for a year or more. Learning to study at home may be difficult as well. Finding a budget or student loans is another planning issue. In other words, think it through and write it down. Build a mini plan, even if you have to chip away at night school for a couple of years. The number of openings are going to grow, and will not be filled in that timeframe.

Next, get a skills assessment for aptitude, math, and for behavior. You can get most of these on-line. The world we knew has been on “turn and burn steroids” for at least five years—the iPod, iPhone, Smartphones, Tablet PCs, social networking, merger mania—let alone fighting two wars and a geo-political crisis.

The team and collaboration work environment may be something you will need to learn or improve from the day you start to post your availability. Yes, I said post. Within the next two to three years most recruitment and selection process will be on-line through social networking, depending on the skills you are offering to an employer. Welders, machine technicians, tool and die, electronic driven robotic technicians, etc. usually have jobs waiting for them when they complete their coursework. Healthcare technicians, physician assistants, or other specialty areas in health prevention and delivery will also enjoy job availability with the right skills.

The most in demand skills will be in software development applications for cloud computing, virtualization and security. Many have natural attributes for software coding and logic developed over time with at home computers. If you are one of those, but never had the opportunity to pursue it as an occupation, now is the time.

Work in the energy sector for all facets of discovery, exploration, refinery, transportation and delivery will be in demand. As the world’s population grows and more markets emerge with consumer demand, energy beyond our current capacity by an order of magnitude will be needed. Some of these jobs will not be close to home—like Brazil, Indonesia, Alaska or Middle East and other parts of the world.

If you always wanted to fly the friendly skies, start now. Take lessons. First single engine, then multi-engine, then small jets. Yes, I know, it cost money and you’re a skeptic. Well, let me enlighten you. Remember those retiring baby boomers? How many are pilots? Lots, and there is a limit both in age and physical fitness which will begin to deplete the current cohort of commercial airline pilots.

Boeing, one of the world’ largest makers of commercial airliners predicts the industry will need 465,000 new pilots to fill demand by 2030. The rising current demand for qualified pilots has raised industry concerns that there may be an industry shortfall based on the time, testing, and flight hours required to get a commercial jet pilot certificate. A wave of retirements is coming over the next five years as pilots reach the mandatory retirement age of 65, which was extended from 60 to 65 by the FAA five years ago to buy some time.

In addition, new FAA safety regulations passed by Congress in 2010, raised the first officer qualification from 250 flight hours to 1,500 hours, which is the same level as required of the captains. The results is more retirements from those not able to reach those 1500 flight hours before retirement to qualify for higher pay and retirement benefits Here again, talent is drying up faster than it can be replaced with long training and development cycles.

To support the new fleet of aircraft Boeing predicts the industry will need 600,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians. You can see the trickle down of shortages in manpower for flight lines, baggage handling, fueling, cargo handling, etc. This is definitely a trade school option with a more easily planned process and costing. Discuss defining a course agenda for lifelong skills development. Don’t take any course that isn’t focused on your skills development needed for the direction your assessments and your passion tell you to pursue.

If you use the Internet search engines you will be able to find clues as to your area of interest and best location where the demand is for the skills you choose to acquire. There are density maps available online that will show you the need for jobs, such as registered nurses, in different geographical areas.

There are many resources to help you in your quest, but you first must make an honest assessment of the skills you have verses the skills you must acquire to not waste valuable time pursuing a dream that you skills may not let you achieve. Good Luck!

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