Free services for job seekers

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

1. Library services -- Libraries offer a wealth of available knowledge to job seekers. The non-fiction section can help you explore everything from types of careers to educational opportunities. Furthermore, reference materials provide all kinds of information on cities as well as potential employers. (Tip: Make the reference librarian your best friend!) Use their computers and subscription online services as well.

2. COVA orientation The Center of Vocational Alternatives (COVA) offers services to job seekers who struggle with depression and other forms of mental illness. For those who feel they might benefit from this type of support, COVA provides a free orientation on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. The orientation introduces participants to COVA's wide array of support services. No registration is required. For more information, contact COVA at (614) 294-7117.

3. Online classes from MIT According to a recent posting on America On-Line (AOL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) provides a host of free, online courses. In fact, you can explore the majority of the school's graduate or undergraduate catalog. The only problem? You can't enroll, take classes on-site, or earn a degree. But this is perfect for the individual who needs to brush up on their skills or expand their knowledge base. For more information, go to

4. Small Business Administration The United States Small Business Administration offers free classes to individuals who wish to start their own business. Information covered includes home business start-up, writing business plans, tax information and more. Learn about available support at

5. FAFSA workshops Need to apply for financial aid in order to return to school? Columbus State allows anyone -- whether they intend to enroll in Columbus State or not -- to participate in FAFSA workshops at no charge. (FAFSA is the free application for Federal Student Aid.) Workshops are generally held each week on Mondays at 10 a.m., Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 4 p.m. To register or get information on types of documents to bring, call (614) 287-5538.

6. Telephone listing Can't find that company listing in the Yellow Pages? Avoid the 411 telephone charge by calling 1-800-FREE-411. You might have to listen to a commercial but you'll save 50 cents or more by calling this number.

For more information, contact New Directions Career Center (NDCC), a non-profit agency serving central Ohio at (614) 849-0028, extension 100. NDCC assists individuals regardless of their ability to pay.