Losing a job can be a life-altering event, and for some, it is a call to change careers. Many states have employment development programs or work with a local non-profit to help offer these programs. The US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration can help direct you to your state’s program.
AmeriCorps offers opportunities for both young and older adults to work in communities for a year in exchange for a living stipend and an education award to use towards more training or school. Over one million AmeriCorps members have served in communities throughout the US, to improve social services for communities in need.
Community colleges are another good way to learn a skill that can translate into a job. Community colleges are a lot less expensive than four-year institutions and offer a broad range of both college-level courses and community education specialized courses. Many well-paid jobs in high demand require only an Associate Degree or certificate from programs widely available at Community Colleges.
Though there are no federal government grants for individuals, the government does issue community block grants to municipalities to provide services for residents. Two common sources of block grants are the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) from the Department of Health and Human Services.
HUD’s block grants typically help disadvantaged communities through housing development programs, rebuilding after disasters, and loan guarantees for low-income homebuyers.
SSBG money goes towards programs that help children, older adults, people with disabilities, and other at-risk populations. Head Start, Meals-On-Wheels, afterschool programming, and other community programs benefit from SSBG money.
There are some small business grants available through local governments and non-profit organizations, but often they require matching funds.
Small Business Loans
Though grants are not usually available, the government does offer small business loans; the most common is the 7(a) Loan Program. The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees 7(a) loans through participating lenders. SBA guarantees a large portion of the loan, making it less risky for participating lenders, and providing small business owners opportunities to apply for loans with less stringent requirements. In 2015, the average 7(a) loan granted was $371,628.
For small businesses that need less money, microloans might be a good avenue to consider. Microloans average $13,000 and max out at $50,000. Microloans can help you to expand a current business or start a small business.
The SBA website can help direct you to lenders who participate in both the 7(a) Loan Program and the Microloan program, as well as offer assistance to those interested in starting a business.
Losing a job is a traumatic experience, and it’s easy to feel like it’s a permanent condition. Don’t lose hope. Unemployment is difficult, but there are ways to get help, and many people find that they bounce back with a job better than the one they lost. Be persistent, use the benefits you deserve, and keep pressing forward!