Many people in reentry haven’t worked for a long time, may have never liked the jobs they had before going into prison or jail or maybe were never really employed in the first place. If you are one of those people, you may want to start from the beginning and research a new career or type of work.
This can be a major undertaking, but if you do your homework, you might discover a job that will keep you engaged for months – or years – to come. And there are a couple of excellent websites that can help you begin that journey.
The first of these, My Skills My Future, is a CareerOneStop website sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration of the U. S. Dept. of Labor. On the site you can match your current or previous occupation to occupations that use similar skills. If you’ve never worked before, you can use it to explore new opportunities.
Here’s how it works: Go to www.myskillsmyfuture.org. On the home page type in a job you currently have or have had in the past. This will bring up a chart listing jobs requiring similar skills. When you click on one of these jobs, you will see exactly what those skills are. The chart also includes the level of education required for each job and the typical pay scale for those who do it.
In addition, a database lets you search job openings in a particular field nationally or by zip code to zero in on what’s available in your local area. A link will take you to a page with more information about a specific job and its requirements, as well as a link to the company’s site so you can apply for it directly. There’s also a list of job training programs, especially for people interested in blue-collar work, that you can consider.
My Skills My Future has another database you can search in the same way for businesses that employ people with specific sets of skills. The businesses can be searched not only by location but also by number of employees, in case you want to weed out those that are just sole proprietorships. Each business listing includes the address, contact info, name of the top executive and a link to the company’s website, if there is one.
A second website dedicated to helping people learn more about career options, My Next Move, is also sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, but developed and managed by the National Center for O’Net Development. You can explore opportunities by using a keyword search, by browsing various industries or though the O’Net Interest Profiler, which offers personalized career suggestions based on your interests and work experience.
Begin using this site by going to www.mynextmove.org and searching careers by typing in a few keywords that describe your dream career. Taking “build houses” as an example, it then brings up a list of careers that involve building houses. Click on one of them, say “construction carpenters,” and you will see a broad overview of the career of construction carpenter; what you would do on a day-to-day basis if you were actually performing this job; and the knowledge, skills, abilities and education necessary to become one.
In addition, the website lets you know the type of personality traits that someone good at this job would have and the technology they would be likely to use when doing it. It describes the salary range and the job outlook, including a color-coded map of the U.S. showing the level of opportunities for this job state-by-state. In addition, there are links to job search websites and a chance to explore other jobs that are similar to that of construction carpenter.
Using one or both of these websites should be very useful in helping you create a path to employment. Good luck, and let us know how they work for you.