Second chances: How displaced workers can get a second chance at a new career - Paycheck

Second chances: How displaced workers can get a second chance at a new career

You go into work one day and it begins like any other day.  Finally, when it is time to go home, you are called into your boss’ office.  You already know without hearing the words: “Sorry, but today is your last day.  There are various reasons: the company is in financial trouble, due to the pandemic or an unrelated reason; job went overseas, etc.  So, what can you do?  First and foremost, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Unemployment Compensation website: and file a claim. Okay, great, that’s done but now what?

Many people may have never had to look for a job for years, much less put together a resume or cover letter.  That’s where PA CareerLink comes in:  The website has a wealth of information.  They have several different sections geared toward individuals with disabilities; a job seekers section that can help you create a resume and connect with local workforce development boards in all areas of the state that will help you acquire skills and help look for jobs; a section for mature workers that gives resume and interview tips; a section devoted to those that want to re-enter the workforce.  There you will find information such as:  how to create a CareerLink account for resume building tools, sign up for job alerts, job market data, web resources that can help you find workforce and career related websites, U.S. Department of Labor, Pennsylvania Adult Education Resources where you can learn about the available resources for adult education under the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education.  There are also other sections that can help with financial assistance such as PA Compass, health, transportation and the USAJOBS, the federal job bank. You can also search for jobs directly on the page as well. You can also find out about apprenticeships as well through CareerLink.

CareerLink also has a local Workforce Investment Area representative that may be able to help you select an employment goal and then enroll into the correct training to find the job that best suits your needs. CareerLink representatives are able to provide ongoing support during and after a work search.

Employment and training programs and assistance are available for people who qualify for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  More information on these employment and training programs can be found at

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based job training program for older Americans. Authorized by the Older Americans Act, the program provides training for low-income, unemployed seniors. Participants also have access to employment assistance through American Job Centers.  According to the Department of Labor’s website, participants must be at least 55, unemployed, and have a family income of no more than 125% of the federal poverty level. Enrollment priority is given to veterans and qualified spouses, then to individuals who are over 65, have a disability, have low literacy skills or limited English proficiency, reside in a rural area, are homeless or at risk of homelessness, have low employment prospects, or have failed to find employment after using services through the American Job Center system.

For more information on SCSEP programs in your area, use CareerOneStop's Older Worker Program Finder or call the toll-free help line at 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627).

The WIOA or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was created to help youth, those with barriers and displaced workers trained and hired into new jobs.  The Dislocated Worker Program helps workers get into new jobs as quickly as possible.   If you lost your job due to a large layoff, plant closure, natural disaster or your job went overseas, Rapid Response Services from CareerLink can help.  Services include:  career counseling, job search assistance, information about education and training opportunities, use of computers, telephones, and fax machines for a job search, financial support for training, income support if a job was lost to foreign trade; and special services for adults with disabilities and veterans.  For additional information, please visit the PA Department of Labor Rapid Response Website or call Toll Free 866-858-2753.   In addition, if your job went overseas, you qualify for new job training through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program as part of the Trade Act of 1974.  Free tuition at various trade schools and colleges, job search allowance and even relocation assistance is available as part of the Act. 

If you still have questions, you can find your local CareerLink office by going to their website or call 211 for assistance in finding the closest office near you.

Theresa Opeka

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