This may not work for me directly, since if I wanted to update my modeling skills I suppose I could take a “sensual pouty mouthed facial expressions” class, or watch an instructional video on “how to pose in a way that makes you look awkward but graceful but starving”… but I eventually WILL want to pursue other ventures, and it is important for everyone to keep their skills updated so that they’re ready to nab their dream job… or at least be the best at the one they have now (so you can rightfully demand more money one day). Here are 3 FREE ways to update your skills now:
1. Watch videos
Few people take advantage of the amazing educational videos offered for free online:
* The Khan Academy: videos on everything from banking to finance and health care.
* Udemy: lectures on business, lifestyle, and even things like arts and language courses.
* Academic Earth: free online courses from the worlds top scholars and lectures from big business leaders.
* YouTube EDU: quick lessons and a broad set of educational videos that range from academic lectures to inspirational speeches.
The key here is to not get sidetracked into watching a video of a monkey and a kitten who are now best friends – that won’t make you any smarter unless you are trying to learn how to make a monkey love a kitten.
2. Free online classes
Although these courses don’t provide college credit, they give a wealth of information that can be a valuable tool in learning about a different industry or to just update your skills for the one that you’re already in.
* About.com: offers a number of online courses available by email. Just select the courses you want and learn through course materials sent in the form of a newsletter. There are many subjects available; just search by topic on the About site.
* Free-ed.net: offers a variety of courses that include materials completely online. Some even have free online textbooks. The Information Technology programs are some of the best and include step-by-step instructions on mastering computer skills.
* iTunes U: access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. When you subscribe to a course, all the core material for the course will be automatically downloaded to the app on your device.
* Mindtools.com: Help you learn the practical, straightforward skills you need to excel in your career like problem solving, team management and leadership skills.
3. Free Government Programs
Check out what free government programs are offered by your city. Here are the ones for mine:
* New York City Department of Education: offers free classes in Career and Technical Education (CTE) are held regularly at schools and offices around the city.
* New York Public Library: throughout the year, The New York Public Library offers more than 25,000 free public programs at its 89 locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
Recently laid off?
If you’ve been recently laid off, before you start feeling all emotional and worthless, investigate:
* Does your severance package includes cash or provisions for retraining or professional development?
* The government also offers programs to those who lose their jobs to foreign competition that pay for up to 2 ½ years of education.
* A growing number of schools are waiving tuition for laid-off workers (including Bergen Community college in Jersey).
* Anyone with a low income may qualify for a federal Pell Grant of up to $4,731, which should cover most costs at community colleges. The quickest way to find out what’s available is to drop in at your local unemployment center or call your local community college.
So get out there and get smarter – god knows we could use more smart people in this world. You’ve already started by reading this informative and super useful yet entertaining blog right here. Some other guys made a list of the top 40 useful sites to help update your skills here if you want some more. You’re welcome.