For many young job-seekers, the usual order of things is that you enroll in school, and sometime when you are close to finishing you start looking for a job. But Work America is trying to change.
The startup aims to help unemployed, "under-qualified" people find a job. Formed in 2013, the firm is now working with people to get a job as a trucker or in a call center even before they get training. Work America's website says:
Starting a new career is exciting, but it can be confusing. Our Job Commitment programs simplify the process by securing you a local job in your desired field, before you invest the time and money in attending school. We also let you know the exact classes you need to take, and connect you with financing when available.
Such an approach might address one problem that stymies young people as they consider careers. Many students enter school or seek other training without clear guidelines and little idea what they want to do when it is over. As a result, you can spend years in school without being ready to work at jobs that are available.
Work America isn't the only group aiming to get people into blue-collar jobs. With the push in education for every child to prepare for college, many other well-paying careers are ignored. For instance, Mike Rowe Works provides scholarships for training for blue-collar jobs.
Rowe, the former host of TV show "Dirty Jobs," believes it's a mistake for schools and political leaders emphasize college to the detriment of work that requires technical training, but that is in demand. In a letter to a reader, Rowe gives the following suggestion:
Stop looking for the "right" career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what's available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don't waste another year looking for a career that doesn't exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that's consistent with those beliefs.
Now, while it's true neither organization is helping people find jobs as stock brokers or attorneys, what they are doing is helping people train for and land jobs that are available. And that's not a bad idea at all.