Working and Training in PA
Working and Training in PA
PAsmart is a new workforce development initiative that helps connect Pennsylvanians with resources for working and training in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanians have never shied away from hard work, pursuing education opportunity, and seeking out training. Through this initiative, Pennsylvania will have the most prepared and talented workforce in the country. We’re not working harder; we’re working smarter.
Looking for jobs, choosing a career path, or dealing with new employment circumstances can be exciting and challenging. Pennsylvania offers several comprehensive tools and resources to help people with their employment journey, no matter where you’re starting.
Take a Career Assessment
The online Career Assessment will ask you about your skills and interests, and give you career suggestions based on your responses.
Evaluate Your Career Skills
Visit a PA CareerLink®
PA CareerLink ® offices offer a variety of in-person career resources for job seekers and existing workers, including:
- Resume workshops.
- Skills assessments.
- Career exploration and counseling.
- Job search assistance.
- Interview practice.
- Job fairs.
- Help with personal finances and budgeting.
- Access to training funds (if eligible).
- Free access to a computer lab.
To find a CareerLink® near you, search online .
Special Employment Needs
There are several resources for Pennsylvanians with special employment needs.
- Veterans and their spouses: Specially-trained veteran employment representatives located in PA CareerLink® offices provide veterans with a full range of employment services , including referral services, job development, referral to training, and referral to government and community veteran service agencies. These representatives help veterans match their job skills to employer job openings and contact employers on behalf of the veteran for consideration in hiring. More information on employment services for veterans .
- People with disabilities: In 2016, Pennsylvania adopted an “Employment First ” policy to increase competitive, integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation helps people with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment. More information on employment services for people with disabilities .
- Seniors: The Senior Community Service Employment Program helps unemployed, low-income adults age 55 and older with employment and training services. To find out more about programs in your area, contact your local Area Agency on Aging .
Researching Career Options
The commonwealth has several online resources to help you explore your career options.
Pennsylvania Career Coach
Whether you are a student, an educator, a first-time jobseeker, a parent, or a person considering a career change, the Pennsylvania Career Coach is a valuable resource as you make career decisions.
- Browse Careers: The Browse Careers tool allows you to research careers based on your interests, learn about how much they pay, and what training is required. This tool will also connect you directly to current job openings on JobGateway® and tell you where you go to get the training you need.
- Explore Civilian Careers for Veterans: Are you a veteran? The Military Occupation Translator recommends civilian careers related to your Military occupation and experience. There are also opportunities for veterans to continue their public service in Pennsylvania .
In-Demand Career Posters
If you are interested in exploring in-demand careers in your community , you can browse the top Jobs of Today, Jobs of Tomorrow, and Jobs of the Future by region in 12 industry clusters:
- Advanced Manufacturing.
- Agriculture and Food Production.
- Bio Medical.
- Building and Construction.
- Business Services.
- Health Care.
- Hospitality, Leisure, and Entertainment.
- Logistics and Transportation.
- Real Estate, Finance, and Insurance.
- Wood, Wood Products, and Publishing.
Each career poster includes information on wages and the number of annual openings for each occupation.
Pennsylvania Career Guide
The Pennsylvania Career Guide has ideas for people preparing to either continue their education or enter the workforce. The guide includes an interest assessment, an occupational data bank based on your interest assess, and ideas for how prepare for a new career.
Training and Education
Graduating from high school is an exciting time for both students and parents. When it comes to deciding what comes next, Pennsylvania has several resources available for guiding you through this process — from choosing a college and program of study to finding an apprenticeship program and gaining work experience.
Making Decisions About College
Some people know exactly what they want to do for their career and what they want to study in college. But, a large majority of people do not have a clear picture of where they are going. The links below provide tips for choosing a major or career path, and where you can find programs offered at all types of postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania.
Undergraduate college programs may lead to a Bachelor’s degree (typically a 4-year program), Associate’s degree (typically a 2-year program), or a Certificate (usually a short-term program).
Choosing a Program of Study
Whether you are a student deciding what you want to be or a parent figuring out how to pay for college, Education Planner is your one-stop career and college planning site.
Pennsylvania CareerZone is an online tool that students can use to explore careers, assess their personal skills and interests, identify postsecondary options, and more. The site also shows students how many jobs are available in PA in the fields that interest them.
Finding a Program of Study in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 300 postsecondary institutions that offer every career choice and degree program a student could want. When you have identified a program you’re interested in, the Institution Program Search tool allows you to find programs of study in Pennsylvania or to see the list of education institutions by category.
Training Options Other Than College
While many students may benefit from a traditional college program, there are other training options that can also lead to good salaries and meaningful careers. In fact, many current good job openings require skills somewhere between a high school credential and a 4-year degree to get started.
Registered Apprenticeships are a combination of on-the-job training and related classes. Workers learn both the theory and application of a highly skilled occupation. Benefits of apprenticeships include:
- Learning valuable job skills.
- Earning a salary.
- Obtaining real world experience.
- Little to no student debt.
- Gaining National Industry Certification.
- Connecting directly with an employer.
The U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeships website provides more information about apprenticeships and how to locate apprenticeship opportunities. Resources may also be found at the Pennsylvania Apprenticeship Training Office website .
Year of Service Opportunities
Are you interested in volunteering and earning a stipend? AmeriCorps is the national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with education awards in exchange for a year or two of community service. Click here for AmeriCorps opportunities in Pennsylvania .
Additional opportunities for community service with pay can be found at Service Year .
Gain Work Experience
Many people who are just starting their job search or changing careers worry that they don’t have enough work experience to put on their resume or to show an employer. Having work experience can increase your chances for getting a good job. There are many ways to gain work experience.
Registered Apprenticeships are a combination of on-the-job training and related classes. Workers learn both the theory and application of a highly skilled occupation, while earning a salary. The U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeships website provides more information about apprenticeships and how to locate apprenticeship opportunities.
Volunteering increases your chances of getting a job by 27%. While volunteer work is not paid, you can gain valuable career skills and make career connections while giving back to your community. Find information about volunteering in Pennsylvania , or see if Volunteer Match has any opportunities.
Year of Service Opportunities
AmeriCorps is the national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with education awards in exchange for a year or two of community service. Click here for AmeriCorps opportunities in Pennsylvania .
Additional opportunities for community service with pay can be found at Service Year .
Work-Study at College
Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. Students earn money to help pay for education expenses while gaining work experience. The program encourages work related to the student’s program of study.
The Pennsylvania Government offers internship opportunities that can be found here .
Student clubs and organizations are a great outlet to network and get involved in an area you are interested in. Most colleges and universities will have a Student Affairs office that can help you find an organization. It is also a great opportunity to get volunteer hours that look great on a resume, especially if you are in a leadership role.
Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps offers work experience, job training, and educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands.
Starting a Business
Starting a successful business takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. It can also be a very meaningful way to earn income while doing something important to you. There are several resources available for people who are interested in starting their own business.
The PA Business One-Stop Shop is the first stop for entrepreneurs (people who want to start their own business) interested in learning about the vast toolbox of business services available within Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania offers a comprehensive business resource guide to help you launch your business in Pennsylvania, including building a business plan, registration, funding advice, and more.
Your local Small Business Development Center can help you gain access to workshops and consulting services. Offices are hosted at 19 universities and their 90 outreach centers located across Pennsylvania.
Finding a Job
Whether you are looking for your first job or hoping to advance in your career, the commonwealth has online and in-person resources to help you make your next move.
Preparing for Job Applications
When you are ready to start your job search process, preparation and having the right documentation are important first steps. Here is a short list of things that are usually needed for a successful job search:
- Documentation: examples include work permits if under 18, government-issued ID, Social Security Card.
- Resume: a professional list of your education, work experience, volunteer experience and more to help an employer see the skills you have gained.
- Cover Letter: a professional letter that helps the employer know why you are applying to a position and how you match the qualifications.
- Interview Skills: preparing well for interviews increases the likelihood of impressing the employer.
- References: contact information for people who can speak highly of your work skills. Sometimes, reference letters may be required.
- Professional Clothing: business clothes for interviewing.
Help for preparing for your job search can be found in person at your local CareerLink® office or online at JobGateway® . Students in high school may want to speak with their school counselor. College students can also visit their college’s Career Center.
Search for Openings Using JobGateway®
PA JobGateway® is the state’s online job bank with over 140,000 job openings. You can search for jobs by category or by location, and apply online. You can also build an online profile , and create and upload a professional resume to share with over 40,000 employers. JobGateway® will recommend jobs for you based on your preferences and if you apply for UC, the site will automatically capture all of your job-search activities.
Search for Openings with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Looking for help working and training in Pennsylvania? Check out the FAQs below for more information on assistance available to Pennsylvanians.
What should I do if I lose my job?
Apply for Unemployment Compensation (UC)
If you were laid off or lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC). UC provides you with a portion of your wages while you look for a new job or career.
Start Looking for Work
In order to receive UC, you must be actively looking for a new job or career, and accept a suitable job if you receive an offer. Keep scrolling for more information on where you can look for a new job or career.
Am I eligible for UC?
Federal and state law determines the eligibility requirements for UC. In order to receive UC benefits, some requirements include:
- Be laid off or lose your job through no fault of your own (or have your hours reduced).
- Be available to look for and accept a new job or career.
- Have worked for a minimum of 18 weeks and earned a certain amount of income.
Pennsylvania determines UC eligibility depending on the specific facts of your employment history, so you must apply in order for the UC program to determine if you are eligible.
How do I apply for UC?
Before you apply for UC, be sure to have the following information on hand :
- Your contact information and Social Security Number.
- Your employer’s contact information.
- The date you started or ended work with that employer (or the date your hours were reduced), the reason for leaving or reducing hours, any severance you received, and if you worked for any other employers in the last 18 months.
- A copy of your most recent pay stub and your bank account and routing number (if you want to sign up for direct deposit).
All personal information you provide to the UC program is safe and secure.
What if I have questions about applying for UC?
If you have questions about filing for UC, there are several resources available to you:
- Visit the UC website with a list of Frequently Asked Questions on UC eligibility , how to apply , and how to check the status of your claim .
- Email a UC expert at email@example.com.
- Call a UC Service Center at 888-313-7284 (open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm).
Due to the high volume of calls to UC Service Centers, applying online is the most efficient way to sign up for UC.
Is there help available if I have a barrier to working or going to training?
Being able to get to a training program, a job, or college can be challenging. People often have concerns about transportation, childcare, or housing. Some people may be struggling with substance use, mental health concerns, or a physical disability. Life brings many challenges to us all, but there may be resources available so you can successfully attend work or training.
Apply for Benefits
You can apply online or in person to see if you are eligible for many health and human service benefits. These can include: health care coverage, food assistance, cash assistance, energy assistance, child care help, and more.
Visit your local CareerLink
CareerLinks® are available across the state. These are offices that offer many resources to help people connect with jobs or relevant training opportunities. CareerLinks may also be able to provide additional services or referrals depending on what your needs are.
Contact the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
OVR provides vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment.
Find Reentry Services
Information about services for people in Pennsylvania who are reentering society after incarceration can be found here . Additional national information and resources are provided by the FairShake Reentry Resource Center and the National Reentry Resource Center .
Where can I find resources to help pay for training and education?
Many training and postsecondary education options cost money. This is a major consideration for most students and families when deciding their path to a career. Understanding financial resources and how to manage money is important to minimize student debt while still completing a high-quality program leading to good job.
Financial Aid for Post-secondary Education
The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website helps students explore careers, learn how to prepare for college, and access various federal financial aid programs.
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency provides financial assistance and resources to Pennsylvania students.
Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. Students earn money to help pay for education experience while gaining work experience. The program encourages work related to the student’s program of study.
Specialized Programs for Financial Assistance
Veteran’s Education : Eligible veterans may use GI Bill benefits to participate in education and on the job programs approved by the Division of Veterans and Military Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program has helped thousands of families make college possible. Not just for youth, adults can also use the PA529 account at most universities, community colleges, career and technical, and graduate schools in the U.S.
College support services for people receiving TANF or SNAP benefits: Pennsylvania offers a program that helps people receiving TANF (cash assistance) or SNAP (food assistance) attend community college by providing some funding for support services such as books, transportation, and childcare. Approval must be obtained from the County Assistance Office staff.
Money Management Tools
MySmartBorrowing is a free, interactive tool that allows users to create up to four different scenarios to see how career and college choices may affect how much they pay for college.
YouCanDealWithIt is another free online tool that provides practical advice on how to deal with common financial situations facing today’s college students and recent graduates, such as understanding student aid, money management, and repayment of student loans.
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
Learn More About Federal Student Aid
Learn More About Federal Work-Study
See Information on Veterans Education
Learn More About the Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program
Use the Smart Borrowing Calculator
See Information on Money Management for Students
How can I improve my English skills or get my GED®, so I can get a job or qualify for training?
Many jobs and training programs require a high school credential such as a diploma, or passing a test like the GED® or HiSET®. Many people may also want to update their reading, writing, and math skills, or improve their English fluency in order to meet job qualifications.
Adult Education programs are available to help Pennsylvanians develop the basic skills needed to participate in education and employment. You can learn more about these programs here .
For more information on high school equivalency options, such as the GED® or HiSET®, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website .