Q: I am a 59-year-old unemployed injured worker. I have over 20 years of banking customer service experience. I have been unemployed for several years due to my injury. I settled my case last week and have received a voucher for retraining. I want to know what industry should I retrain in that will really hire me at completion? I want to make at least $22-$25 per hour. I have problems standing and walking but can work in a seated position. I have an AA degree and have nearly completed my BA. My interest is a program with job placement at completion.
Eartha - Oakland, CA
A: With your background in banking customer service experience, I would suggest looking into a training program that would prepare you for jobs within the "Professional and Business Services" industry. This sector includes jobs in administrative and office support, legal services, accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services.
Recent information published by the Labor Market Division of the Employment Development Department (EDD) for the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward Metropolitan Division reports the "professional and business services" category rose by 2,800 jobs, more than doubling its usual 1,200-job increase between May and June over the prior 10 years. Professional, scientific and technical services accounted for half of the gain (up 1,400 jobs).
The EDD Labor Market Information for Alameda County lists median wages for some jobs in these sectors as: Office Support, $16.18/hour; Bookkeeper, $21.79/hour; Payroll Specialist, $20.63/hour and Court/Municipal Clerk, $22.74. All of these jobs would be performed from a seated position.
For a list of available training programs in Alameda County, visit the EDD Eligible Training Provider List.
When selecting a vocational training school, make sure that programs are fully accredited, teachers are well prepared, and important equipment and resources are up-to-date. It is also important to consider the cost, length and nature of a program.
In general, the best schools feature one- to two-year training programs that tend to split programs evenly between classroom studies and hands-on work. Lastly, ask about the success rates in employment of the school's graduates to determine whether or not a program would be worth attending.