Funding to Upgrade Your Skills

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Laid off and looking to increase your skills without decreasing your cash reserves? Bankrate.com suggests the following five ways to get free job training:

- If notified you will be laid off, ask if you can get extra cash or reimbursement for training as part of your severance package.

- See if your state's U.S. government-funded One-Stop Career Center will pay for training that updates your skill set or helps you move into a new career.

- Chat with the financial aid officers at local universities about grants, tuition discounts and financial aid targeting laid-off workers. Be sure you share information about your current income, if it's significantly lower than what you earned last year.

- Ask your union, professional association or local civic groups if they fund scholarships.

- Consider joining a non-profit such as AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps or Teach for America, where you'll earn a small salary, but have the opportunity to learn new skills. After serving, you'll get preferential treatment for federal jobs.

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