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Education and Training After a Job Loss

Upgrading your job skills may be helpful in making your next move.

Sometimes an unexpected career event — such as a layoff — can be an excellent time to brush up on skills. You have several options for training and education.

Take a Class

Taking just one or two classes can help you stand out when applying for new jobs. There are lots of reasons to consider taking a class before or during a job change:

  • A single class can be a great way to explore whether a new career field is right for you.
  • Updating even one specific skill can help you stand out from the crowd when applying for your next job.
  • Learning a new skill can energize your career and your outlook on life.

Is there a skill that you've always wanted to learn or improve? You can find many types of courses across the state on the Courses Search page. Also check with your local community education department.

Want to know what specific skills, knowledge and technology employers are looking for?

  • Check out the Minnesota Employers Speak tool. This tool shows comments from more than 50 listening sessions with employers in nine different industries around the state.
  • Search Careers. See details about important skills, knowledge areas, common tools and technology used on the job. If you have less skill in an area than you'd like, each career provides a link to View related education and training programs.

Short-Term Training

Short-term training usually includes programs that last for two years or less. There are several options.

Federally-Funded Short-Term Training

If you were laid off as part of a mass layoff, you may qualify for Employment Services for Laid Off Workers. Check with CareerForce to see if you qualify. If you do, use the short-term training search to find WIOA-certified short-term training at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Certificate Programs

A certificate program is an academic program. It generally requires nine to 30 credits that can be completed in a year or less by a full-time student. Some are designed to provide specialized programs for people who already have diplomas or degrees. Others are for people who want to quickly enter a specific job. Many community and technical colleges offer short-term training programs. Use the programs search to locate certificate programs.


A certification verifies by exam a worker's expertise within an occupation. It allows the worker to perform job duties using a specific occupation title. Non-certified individuals may perform the same duties, but may not use the title. Certifications are often offered by national organizations that specialize in particular fields or technologies. They are usually voluntary, but some may be required by employers in occupations such as nursing and financial planning. You can find certifications related to your career with CareerOneStop's Certification Finder.

Begin or Finish a Degree

The time after a layoff can be good time to look into a degree program. It gives you the chance to switch careers or advance in your current career path.

Visit the Plan Your Education section to explore options. Learn more about what it takes to enroll in a degree program. Use the using Education Search Tools to search by major, program, and school.

Financial Aid and Tuition

There are many financial aid options to help you achieve your education goals.

Unemployment Training Funds

If you were laid off as part of a mass layoff, you may qualify for training services through the Dislocated Worker program through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). If you lost your job or had your hours reduced as a result of increased imports, you may qualify for assistance through the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA).

To find out if you qualify for these programs, contact CareerForce.

Take Classes Free of Charge

Some state colleges and universities offer a tuition waiver for unemployed people. Restrictions apply. Policies also change from one semester to the next. For current information, please contact the financial aid office at the campus of your choice. You can find campuses using the Campus and Program search.

Apply for Federal Financial Aid

You may qualify for financial aid like loans, grants, and scholarships. Visit Pay for College section to learn about federal financial aid.