There are organizations out there that exist to help. Take advantage of every last one. That's what they're there for.
North Hills Community Outreach
These people really do it all. They coordinate you with the programs that will best meet your needs. Currently you can get hooked up with WorkAble, a program that helps people get in touch with a career coach. From there your coach can help you get the training you need along with information about job openings in the Pittsburgh area.
They can also run Community Auto, a program that helps you get a used car at a seriously reduced price. (There is usually a long wait line for that one.) They provide scholarships to those that live in northern Allegheny county so they can get the education they need to get that great job. They provide computer training courses which are particularly wonderful for displaced homemakers or those who may be mature and didn't get computer training in their traditional schooling. They can help you set up a basic financial plan so that you can live within budget and improve things like your credit report that will help your lifestyle overall.
And there's even more resources they offer. To check all of them out in depth, go to their website.
Treasure House Fashions
Founded 12 years ago, Treasure House Fashions on McKnight Rd. is a gently used clothes store for women. Slightly more expensive than Good Will, the quality of the clothes is guaranteed and in season. Anyone can shop here. Absolutely anyone. But the heart and soul of the business is helping women in transition or need. Places like North Hills Community Outreach often distribute Treasure House gift certificates, which can be perfect if the expense of a professional work wardrobe is the thing holding you back from employment. If you're a single mother or a woman who is 55 years of age or older, ask about their SMART card which gives you a 50% discount certain days of the week. Right now there is a bag sale going on every Tuesday in February: as much as you can fit into a brown grocery bag for $20.
Pennsylvania Women Work
If you're trying to get back into the workforce but just don't see how it's feasible, Pennsylvania Women Work has you covered in all areas. First, there's their New Choices program. This provides training in areas such as reading, math, computer literacy, Microsoft Office, and career development. You also get one-on-one career counseling. There's sites across the whole state, including one in Pittsburgh that will start its new season in the fall.
That's not all they do. They also provide discounted transportation to those seeking employment or who are in career-training. They have a clothing closet where, once referred, you can get free, fashionable clothing for job interviews. They'll help you write your resume, do mock interviews with you, and get you individualized job placement. Childcare assistance is even available.
I know they've hosted a sort of job fair in the past where major companies from the region come with the goal of specifically hiring women. There seems to be absolutely no losing with this organization.
The United Way
Check out your local branch of the United Way. I know in Allegheny County they are able to provide you with transportation assistance, programs at local colleges that will fund your tuition, programs that subsidize childcare costs, and access to even more agencies that will help you on your way to employment.
*This is a Frugal Tuesday Tip*