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Productive Ways to Fill Our “Down Time”

June 16, 2020 1:19 PM | Deleted user
By Sarah Lyngdal, NENA Director
Ticket to Work Program Manager
Employment Resources, Inc.

In COVID-19 times, many of us dramatically changed the way in which we do our work; namely going from a physical office space to providing services remotely/virtually from our homes. This change seems to have freed up some staff time to work on professional development and continuing education.  Not only that, but some of the consumers we serve are looking for ways to revamp their skills and productively occupy their time. I’d like to share some great free resources for training to expand our knowledge and skills. 


Colleagues & Clients: GCF LearnFree, created by the Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina, offers free training and tutorials on more than 200 topics. Training offerings include computer programs like Microsoft office, graphic design, job search/career, and starting from scratch with basic computer skills.

Colleagues & Clients: Alison.com is one of the biggest free online education and skills training. Offers 1,000 free online courses with a range of topics from IT, Language, Health, Business, Marketing and Lifestyle.

Colleagues & ClientsLinkedIn Learning acquired Lynda.com back in 2015. It offers all the training content previously available on Lynda.com with topics like customer service, leadership, time management and a range of software programs. LinkedIn Learning offers a free month trial for their online training. Also, LinkedIn Learning might be free through your public library:

Colleagues & Clients:  Consumer Finance Protection Bureau- Your Money Your Goals, financial empowerment training to help consumers meet their financial goals. Free toolkits and consumer guides available which cover a range of financial topics including budgeting, debt, paying bills, and understanding credit reports. CFPB is hosting weekly webinars on Wednesdays, June 10, 2020 to July 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm EST. The one and one-half hour webinars will showcase the CFPB’s Your Money, Your Goals financial resources for frontline staff and those who work with economically vulnerable populations.

Colleagues: VCU has an upcoming introductory class: Introduction to Social Security Disability Benefits, Work Incentives, and Employment Support Programs Web Course (June 2020)

Clients: Building IT Fundamentals

Interested in Podcasts?

  • TED offers a Work Life podcast by Organizational Psychologist, Adam Grant.  A few episode topics include burnout, procrastination, and reinventing job interviews. 
  • The Happiness Lab by Dr. Laurie Santos sharing scientific research and stories about happiness. Dr. Santos has done a few episodes talking about COVID-19. 

New to Online Learning? Check out these 8 Tips for Effective Online Learning.


The National Employment Network Association (NENA) serves Employment Networks (ENs), American Job Centers (AJCs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and other Stakeholders involved in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.

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