Vocational training prepares students for job skills that are necessary in many careers. In today’s economy, a specific set of specialized skills can be invaluable. Vocational training provides you with a combination of classroom training and hands-on work skills. These training programs are also much shorter than college academic programs.
According to the US Department of Education, admissions in vocational schools are rapidly increasing in America. The cost of vocational training is historically less expensive than college because you’re there to learn a specific skill set; however, with increased attendance tuition has been on the rise.
The cost of vocational training can vary depending on the trade you want to study. The good news is that with a little research you can find free vocational training programs. It’s up to you to investigate your options and find the program that fits your occupational goals.
Workforce Investment Act
According to the US Department of Education, the Workforce Investment Act offers a comprehensive choice of workforce activities through statewide and local organizations. This training is offered to potential candidates who are new to the workforce, laid-off workers, people with disabilities, veterans and other jobseekers.
The intention of this free training is to provide effective skills for qualified applicants that could be later utilized and applied in the workforce.
Local Unemployment Agency
Visit your local unemployment office and speak with the counselor regarding your potential options. There are a number of potential free programs for job seekers. Each state will have its own set of specific rules regarding training.
In addition to vocational training options, the unemployment agency often will assist you in your job search after successful completion of training. Inquire about a pre-training orientation class. This will help you research your potential career options.
One-Step Career Centers
One-step career centers offer educational training programs through vocational and trade schools. They also offer on-the-job training and free apprenticeship programs in many career fields. The centers are available in cities across America and typically offer the following services at no cost:
- Job career prescreening
- On-the-job training
- Employer liaison
- Job fairs
- On-site recruiting
- Interviewing and meeting facilities
- Skill level testing
Professional trade unions are another potential source of funding for vocational training in occupations such as electricians, welders, sheet metal workers and a variety of other trades. This training will frequently be done during the apprenticeship program in which you will learn a trade through a combination of on-the-job training and evening classes.
Most apprenticeship programs have a probationary period, when the union will evaluate the employee’s job and academic performance.
US Job Corps
According to the US Department of Labor, the Job Corps trains over 100,000 students per year. This program offers free training for students between the ages of 16 to 24. Candidates who qualify for training can be trained in over 100 career fields to include the following growing jobs:
- Auto repair
During training students receive free healthcare and after certification, there are job placement programs available for graduates.
Women and Ethnic Minority Programs
Some vocational trade programs provide free training to women and minorities through funds received from the Department of Labor. These training opportunities can be found in community-based programs, trade unions, community colleges, employers, and at your local One-Stop Career Center.
Eligible applicants can receive a combination of both school-based and on-the-job training. The purpose of this program is to encourage active participation in the workforce by traditionally under-represented groups.