Deirdre Fernandes’s article “Still looking” highlighted the challenges facing groups identified as jobless, including the unskilled, minorities, and older workers. One group left out was skilled professionals, mostly older, who were laid off during the Great Recession and are still seeking employment.
Fernandes cites Commonwealth Corp. and Jewish Vocational Service as offering programs to help workers build skills, yet most retraining programs are underfunded or unavailable to skilled professionals because of their education or because their family income is considered too high. As a result, thousands of professionals remain unemployed.
The Professional Development Collaborative is a nonprofit started by talented professionals who were stymied in becoming re-employed because of their perceived lack of credentials. Experienced project managers, for example, were rejected because they lacked a Project Management Certificate. Yet when they sought this credential, its astronomical cost at for-profit schools or colleges became a bridge too far. We took as our mission providing low-cost training to update crucial missing skills.
It may strike many as odd that skilled professionals can’t find employment. Yet, like the unskilled, they are invisible to the public but often only one course away from employment. All they need is a course that’s professionally relevant and affordable.