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A well planned gap year can be an opportunity to learn and grow outside the classroom. Gap year students and their parents often share that their gap year was a critical opportunity to develop and mature and focus to be ready for the transition to college. Attending a Gap Year Fair is a good way to explore options and different programs. See College counseling for other ideas.

These programs are usually available at privately owned schools. Community colleges such as Portland Community College also offer many such programs. The training provided is practical and prepares students for employment in specific fields. Students can be trained in secretarial skills, computer programming, electronics, auto repair, cosmetology, drafting, health occupations, and travel and tourism. Job placement services are usually available upon completion of a program. The length of a program varies from several weeks to several years. Costs can also vary depending upon the length and quality of training.

An apprenticeship is a formal way of learning a skill or trade by working with someone who works at that particular job. Apprenticeship programs almost always include class study along with a full-time job. Apprenticeships usually cover periods of time specified by the government or labor unions. Time spent in an apprenticeship depends on the difficulty of the skill to be learned. While most programs are between three and four years, a few can be as short as two years or as long as five or six years. One advantage of an apprenticeship is that rather than paying for the training him/herself, the apprentice is being paid while learning a skill. The number of apprenticeship openings is limited and not all qualified applicants can enter such programs. Tests and personal interviews are often required. Occupations with apprenticeship training include carpentry, plumbing, etc.

Branches of the military offer training in almost 1500 different occupations. Many of these are similar to occupations found in civilian life. The training varies a great deal in length of time and may include classroom study, on-the-job training, or both. Enlistees are paid while they receive their training. The military prepares persons for a variety of jobs including aircraft mechanic, heavy equipment operator, computer or electronics technician, meteorologist, firefighter, and welder.

A student planning to work might consider the following steps.
• Visit the Counseling Center and ask about possible job opportunities.
• Seek out companies and businesses that offer on-the-job training (OJT) programs to new employees. OJT can help a person gain the skills to succeed in certain jobs and also to advance later on.