New career training solutions are being considered by many individuals because the familiar career planning strategies have stopped working. There is a concise and practical saying that “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. But when it comes to career training programs and job possibilities, the growing consensus is “If it’s broke, fix it” because of recurring problems with employment choices and circumstances.

How do we know “it’s broke?” Higher education costs have spiraled out of control, leaving college graduates with enormous debt. To make matters worse, there are currently very few appropriate job openings for those recently graduating from the costly but familiar educational institutions. As a result, unemployment rates for this sector is already at depression levels. At the other end of the employment spectrum, experienced workers have lost jobs from positions deemed “safe” only a few years ago and have then found very few realistic job options when they look for alternative work. Some of these situations involve government careers that are suffering due to widespread spending cutbacks. Until proven otherwise, these jobs are likely to be gone on a permanent basis. Likewise, job losses in the banking sector certainly appear to be gone forever due to massive changes impacting banks. There are similar examples of “it’s broke” in many other directions of career planning. Who knows what future that a real estate career might currently offer?

There are certainly segments of the economy which are better off than others. Individuals in a healthier employment situation might not think that it matters (to them) if traditional career planning is “broke” or not. However, one of the new approaches to career training programs is to incorporate a contingency planning strategy that proactively reviews “What could go wrong and what should I do if it does?” whether a person is currently employed or not.

The classic approach to career training programs is more likely than not to involve a group training atmosphere. It is of course less costly but has few other arguments in its favor. Group classes are also the traditional format used by colleges. Despite what should be a distinct cost advantage of teaching groups rather than individuals in a one-to-one basis, college costs have steadily outpaced inflation and have reached a level that many (if not most) now consider to be unaffordable.

To comprehensively evaluate career training solutions, it should be helpful to review the cost effectiveness of each alternative. When seeking the most cost-effective strategy, the primary questions are “What am I getting for my money?” and “Is it worth it?” rather than simply looking for the cheapest possibility. In this context many individualized career training programs (especially for specialized careers such as small business finance consulting) can suddenly look like the winning strategy.