MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It can happen to any of us. Without much warning, you find yourself out of a job.

Here in the Twin Cities, it’s happened quite a bit in recent months as thousands of workers received lay-off notices. Just last month, Target said it planned to cut 475 jobs. Best Buy has also had a series of cutbacks.

And for a lot of those laid-off workers, finding a new job can be tough.

So, I spent some time looking into the help that’s available. I found everything from free help to classes you can take in order to get an accredited certificate in a new skill.

On Wednesday, I went to the Takoda Institute in Minneapolis where many of the students already have decades of experience, yet are still looking for work.

Robert Rafn is a graphic designer.

“The idea of getting laid off was my worst fear for quite a while,” he said, “because I had seen it happening around me.”

Abdul Steinar is an advertising specialist.

“I was working at a place that was downsized, and then from there I had a problem getting work in the same field,” he said.

Malika Sadi-Goodman is a professional makeup artist who’s worked with models for print ads and actors in award-winning movies.

“After the recession, the work opportunities got to be…smaller,” she said. 

All of them are out of work, but taking classes in public relations and writing at Takoda Institute in hopes of getting new jobs.

The staff there says they are seeing more students who already have degrees and specialized training, but they seek just one more skill to make themselves more marketable.

“It’s okay to come back to the classroom, there’s no shame,” said Joe Hobot, the education director at Takoda Institute. “In fact, you have a role to play. You bring a host of professional experience, previous education and insight, that can be shared.”

In Aida Al-Kadi’s case, she learned that being fluent in Arabic is a skill that some businesses may value, and that’s not all she’s learned.

“My writing skills have gotten better,” said Al-Kadi, who wants to get into public relations. “My…everything. My computer skills. Most of these things I have never done before. I just feel good.”

The cost of the classes at Takoda Institute is often covered by grants, but even without financial aid it’s $2,000 to complete a certificate in nine months. Areas of study include computer support, health information technology, nursing assistance, EMT training, and public relations.

As for the free services to update your resume, you can get that through the Minnesota Workforce Centers that are run by the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

There are locations all over the state, and they have a big job fair coming up on March 27 at the Eagan Civic Center.


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