So You Want a New Job? Here’s How to Retrain


A New Job? How to Retrain

4.4 million people quit their employment in September alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so they won’t need to retrain.

Experts warn that people seeking a complete career change may find it difficult to get the necessary financial and social support.


Toxic exposure from COVID-19 and the duty to enforce mask compliance on clients imposed an “undue burden on staff they’re simply not willing to cope with,” says Erin Hatton, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Buffalo in New York.

Hatton believes pandemic-weary people are doubting their professions’ worth, which may prompt them to switch industries — or at least try.

“That can be difficult,” she admits. “Getting the necessary training might be difficult.”

But would the “Great Resignation” lead to greater wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers?

Experts like Anthony Carnevale, head of Georgetown’s Center for Education and the Workforce, dispute it. He blames it on the US’s poor retraining skills.


Changing occupations frequently requires a new certification (a degree or certificate), which means more schooling. Employers in all industries, including those that used to be unaccredited, now need specific certifications.

Consider auto mechanics. Carnevale believes this job now demands more skilling in both mechanical and electronics.

To open the hood of your automobile used to be possible, but not longer, explains Carnevale.

“Skill needs are increasing for several reasons, but mostly due to technology.”


According to Hatton, “significant professional changes” are difficult for people who lack time and money to learn in a new sector while still paying rent or a mortgage. Child and elder care may add to the load.

The National Abilities Coalition, a non-profit group aimed at raising the skills of American employees across sectors, claims retraining issues are mostly attributable to a lack of social support.

She and other experts think government investments and policies are critical to reducing unemployment and reskilling employees.

“We’ve seen great benefits for people who can obtain skills retraining to match local demand,” Spiker adds. Having access to child care and basic requirements also help, she says.


Don’t quit up pursuing a better job, but realize that it won’t be easy.

When weighing your possibilities, ask yourself whether the employment is available where you need, want, or can be, says Pamela Egan, director of the UC Berkeley Labor Center’s Labor Management-Partnerships Program.

Start with your state’s workforce development investment board, Egan advises. She admits the system is flawed, but it is free and open to everybody. Egan says your state may have “high-road training partnerships” between high-quality firms and workforce education and training programs.

Getting into a new field depends on what programs are offered and if you can afford them. Other retraining options:

Employers who train. Yvette Lee, an HR knowledge expert with the Society for Human Resource Management, says firms are adopting on-the-job training and tuition help to teach staff.

University or graduate school. In addition to graduation rates, fees, debt, and student outcomes, the College Scorecard from the US Department of Education enables users to review college programs.

College programs. Public two-year colleges provide career training and associate degrees. The programs are low-cost and federally funded.

Vocational schools and credential programs. Trade schools may be the quickest and most efficient way to reskill and acquire a new career. They might be expensive, or they may not be qualified for financial help. College Scorecard contains Pell Grant-eligible programs and federal workforce development initiatives.