Question: I was laid off from my job and have been receiving unemployment. I was told the unemployment benefits would go through June 2009. I have recently signed on at an adult school to learn PBX (private bank exchange) in the hope I could find a receptionist job. Now my unemployment is being withheld for further evaluation. Does the fact I am training to expand my skills have an adverse effect on my benefits? - Theresa
In general, to receive unemployment benefits you must be able, available, and actively seeking work. Laws about attending training while receiving benefits vary widely from state to state.
For instance, some states allow you to attend classes if the schooling does not interfere with your ability to seek and accept suitable work. Others allow you to attend classes if you ask for approval before you enter the class, or if you attend a state-approved vocational training program. In other states, attending school would make you ineligible for benefits.
Learn How to Upgrade Your Skills
- If you lost your job or feel you are about to, start browsing careers to see what jobs match your skills and interests.
- If you did not get your high school diploma, look at getting a GED as a first step in your plan to improve your career.
- Once you decide what you would like to do, find people in that field of work and ask them to meet with you to provide more information. The people already doing a job can be the best source of good information. These professionals can also come in handy later as job contacts with once you have upgraded your skills.
- If your new profession requires formal training, visit community colleges or vocational training centers in your area. Meeting with a career counselor or teacher can help you navigate the process.
- If you are out of work, consider taking an unpaid internship or apprenticeship. On the job experience will give you a head start on a new career and provide you with valuable professional contacts that you can use to find jobs or serve as references.