In recent years, continuing education, upskilling, and reskilling courses have become more and more relevant to employees, learners, and educators. This revolution in education is a result of rapidly-evolving job markets, sky-rocketing higher education costs, and the cultural change in how Americans work and want to work. As a result of these changes, adult learners are more interested in attending programs that emphasize career-readiness outside of the traditional education system.
Career paths are no longer linear “ladders” to success, but require taking sidesteps and learning new skills even after gaining job experience. Through interviews with career-switchers and upskillers, we’ve found that the motivations for career switching can be driven by a variety of factors, but oftentimes it comes down to taking control. Here, we can see some of the top motivations of people who used reskilling programs to move forward in their careers:
1) Taking control of job security
Natalie wanted more job security after getting laid off. Switching to a career in Program Management has given her solid skills and the peace of mind she was craving.
“I feel like I’m in the right place, and I also feel like the things I’m learning here will serve me well in the future. I don’t have that fear of—god forbid I get laid off or I lose my job—that I won’t be able to translate somewhere else.
"So I feel blessed to be able to work at a place where I’m gaining skills every day that give me a sense of security, in the way of knowing the skills that I’m building are useful to a lot of different companies, a lot of different roles.”
2) Taking control of salary growth opportunities and financial security
Jake wasn’t seeing many opportunities for growth in his career path as a millwright and combo-welder, so he moved to a career in Crane Operation.
“I kind of topped out on my pay scale … I was doing it for a long time, and the company would bring in people that didn’t know as much as me and pay him $12 more an hour and wouldn’t give me a pay raise.
"[Attending the crane operation program] was honestly the best decision I ever made. It’s given me the tools to provide better for my family. I make substantially more money now, and I don’t physically work as hard — I mean, I still work hard, but it’s not as physically demanding as my other jobs.”
–Jake, West Coast Training
3) Taking control of personal confidence and feelings of accomplishment
Toni had been job-hopping and wasn’t feeling fulfilled in many of her roles. She was interested in learning how to code and becoming a software engineer, but felt a sense of self-doubt. After she decided to take the plunge and make a change, her confidence in her work soared.
“Before, I was just working jobs, but now I have a career. I used to feel very aimless which fed into feelings of insecurity. Now, I am very proud of myself and everything I’ve accomplished…Now that I’m on the other side of all that, I realize I was one of the biggest blockers to my own happiness and success.”
–Toni, Skill Distillery
4) Taking control with a greater sense of ownership over work
Adam found an opportunity for personal ownership over his work through a career switch after he was laid off from his previous job. Transitioning from the wind industry to the technology industry gave him that power.
“It just feels wildly different to be a software engineer. You’re valued for your intellect, and you’re given a lot more wiggle room to go about your tasks and projects, which is really rewarding. It makes you feel actually valued. Every day is kind of a new, exciting challenge, and I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else.”
5) Taking control of financial and personal success
Jo retired from years as a police officer, but realized he didn’t want to rely solely on his retirement package for financial security. He decided to attend a heavy equipment operation program to start his second career.
“As I was approaching retirement, and looking at my retirement package, I began talking to different investment firms… As I was venting to a friend, he said this, and I will never forget it: ‘the best investment you can make is in yourself.’ No one is going to just give you something for nothing … investing in yourself means you control your destiny.”
"After he attended the program, he felt secure in both his job and his finances. “Did I mention? I went back to school at the age of 55. I make three times what I made as a policeman.”
–Jo, Heavy Equipment Colleges of America
The above students are clients of Climb’s. However, they were not paid or otherwise compensated for their testimonials. These testimonials reflect the real-life experiences and opinions of them; however, it should not be assumed that all users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.
The quoted statements appear verbatim as given by the users, except for the correction of grammar and typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened or rearranged for the sake of clarity.