Many industries are slowly dying out, and finding a good job in today’s world can be difficult. You may have been trained in a field, only to conclude that the onset of technology or a cheaper worker in another country has replaced you.
If you’re in that position, don’t be discouraged. Some industries are desperate for good employees and gladly train new candidates. While not all employers will provide free instruction, many do. Many others will provide it at a discounted cost, making it easy for almost anyone to train for a new career while working at their current one.
If you’re in the market for an in-demand skill that can get you working quickly and inexpensively, you may want to consider some of these valuable options.
Apprenticeships in the Labor Market
An apprenticeship allows you to “earn while you learn.” These programs are often highly competitive, so it may not be easy to get into one. Many are located in the major industry areas, so if you’re serious about landing a paid apprenticeship, you may have to relocate. Successful completion of an apprenticeship program usually results in guaranteed work with good pay.
There are apprenticeships available across the country, but you’ll find the highest concentration in Indiana, Iowa, Virginia, Missouri, Connecticut, and Washington.
The most common industries offering apprenticeships include electrical work, green energy, telecommunications, plumbing, carpentry, and healthcare.
How do you find apprenticeships in these fields? Use a real job search database. The following databases will help you find apprenticeships:
Electrical Training Alliance
The National Skills Academy
Each of these websites lists apprenticeships of various types. You may also be able to search for different apprenticeships in your area. Apprenticeships cover a broad range of areas beyond those listed above.
We list the trucking industry separately here due to how large this industry has become, and how many openings there are within this industry. According to the American Truckers Association (ATA), the truck driver shortage is both high and growing. While the industry currently needs to fill around 50,000 truck-driving positions, the ATA expects that number to be over 150,000 by 2025.
Trucking is not an easy lifestyle. Many truckers quit within the first year. However, truckers average around the same pay as college graduates, with the BLS reporting that the average hourly rate for truckers is around $23 an hour, while most truckers are working around 42 hours a week.
Trucking apprenticeships are easy to locate, as are cheap or discounted instruction programs. Most trucking companies provide apprenticeship, so your best bet will be to search for such programs with individual companies. Here are a few examples of businesses that offer such programs:
Schneider (for veterans)
Cypress Truck Lines (for veterans)
Swift (reimburses training cost after employment)
You can also find trucking positions by searching popular job search platforms such as:
Big Truck Driving Jobs
You can find CDL prep materials online and through apps. Helpful locations include:
Union Test Prep
The federal government provides a significant number of resources for those seeking employment, including the federal Office of Apprenticeship, housed within the US Department of Labor. This office provides a great many resources for those looking to obtain apprenticeships for the public sector or federal jobs.
The federal government also runs other work opportunities for different groups, including programs for military vets as well as teenagers and young adults. Programs include:
Job Corps (for teens and young adults)
Helmets to Hardhats (for veterans)
Troops to Teachers (for veterans)
Department of Labor
Low-Cost Private Sector Training
Many industries that experience labor shortages will provide discounted or low-cost training. You may not be able to find apprenticeships in these industries, but you may be able to get education, coursework, or on the job instruction. Industries and careers in this category include:
Auto technicians and mechanics
Support Services and Helpful Tools
You will find an extensive network of support services available for anyone hoping to enter into an in-demand field. As noted, the Department of Labor offers very detailed information on apprenticeships. However, you may find other online resources helpful:
Federal Jobs Training Programs through SNAP
Federal Adult Training Programs
Department of Labor CareerOneStop Training Database
Online Training Vs In-Person Training
It’s important to note that most apprenticeships and free or discounted instruction programs require hands-on work. While you may have the opportunity to do some of the work from home, you will likely need to be located near a company facility or be able to travel to a site upon request. You may consider some other options:
Community colleges. Most community colleges provide preparation and coursework for in-demand jobs. You can prepare for a career change ahead of time by taking classes through a local community college, many of which have online classes. Furthermore, if you are a low-income individual or you’re seeking to obtain a degree in a high-demand field, you may be able to secure federal Pell grants or scholarships.
Career Training Centers. There are centers across the country that help deliver coursework for a variety of different technical jobs. Many of these schools qualify to receive scholarships and federal grants as well, so you can find discounted coursework by applying to these programs and obtaining scholarships or federal grants to attend. Few of these centers are operated nationally, although some do exist. However, be careful of using for-profit technical institutes that have been known to have extremely high cost with low graduation and placement rates.
The employment market is tight, and many traditional jobs are drying up. At the same time, many industries are in desperate need of skilled and qualified employees, and in many cases, they support those employees as they acquire the required skills. Identifying those industries and seeking the appropriate skills is one of the surest paths to lasting well-paid work.