Now More than Ever, Upgrade Your Skillset

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The COVID-19 pandemic is going to keep us from normal life for a long, long time, from the looks of it. Our needs to earn money and hang onto jobs are as urgent as ever, though. Three-quarters of American workers can't fully do their jobs from home, and nearly 48 percent of American adults are jobless. Everyone agrees that something has to change.

For some insiders, economists, and job-hunters, that means shifting focus and learning new skills. This week, the New York Times profiled a number of American workers who are actively working toward expanding their job-relevant training. One common complaint among hiring managers is not that the number of candidates is lacking, but that highly skilled and qualified job candidates can appear thin on the ground. As lockdowns and quarantines persist, it might be time to invest in some continuing education.

Researchers have put out studies on how to choose the best learning scenarios for you. If you're looking for ways to dip your toe in the water without investing a lot of money, energy, or time, search around for free courses on websites like MOOC.org or Open Culture. You can also pay fees (often quite affordable) for classes from places like Coursera, which collects online courses from internationally acclaimed institutions and schools, and which offers certificates in subjects.

More specific classes are available on the other end of a simple search, in topics as far-ranging as creating comics to chemical engineering. This might be an opportunity to change your career in ways you never thought you could before.