Free Online Training Newsletter - Online Training Opportunities for Career Advancement

This month we would like to feature three of our favorite free training oriented sites on the web. All of these sites are free and provide a gateway to outstanding career-building resources. Let us know what you think of these sites and give us some ideas for new courses you would like us to create or add to our network. We are currently in negotiations to build a conflict resolution course which focuses on ethnic and religious conciliation training and services for developing nations in Africa.

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Featured Article - How to Become a Mediator

People from a wide variety of backgrounds can make good mediators. Presently, California has no mediator licensing requirements, which makes the answer to the question “How do I become a mediator?” as individual as the mediators themselves.

Before embarking on the journey to become a mediator, there are some questions you may wish to ask yourself in order to have a realistic approach in developing a career in mediation. Going from mediation training to a full-time mediation practice is difficult road, like building any quality business. Before you get started, ask yourself:

• Why do I want to become a mediator?

• What do I hope to accomplish?

• What will I use my mediation skills to do?

• How will my background contribute to my future practice in mediation?

• Do I need a steady paycheck, or do I prefer to be self-employed?

• Do I want to mediate full-time, part-time, or as an adjunct service to my existing career or practice?

• Do I want to be paid for my services, or do I prefer to mediate as a volunteer?

Training

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you’re going to need some training. Most people start out with a 40-hour basic mediation class, but before investing your time and money in a class, you may wish to read The Mediation Process, by Christopher Moore (2nd Edition, Wiley/Jossey-Bass 2002). This book is a classic in the mediation field, and describes the process from beginning to end. While there are many great mediation titles available, no other book takes the process from start to finish like The Mediation Process.

From there, you may wish to sign up for a 40-hour course. Most mediation panels, both volunteer and paid, require at least that much training in order to join. A 40 hour course is a great place to start to acquire, develop and hone your mediation skills. How much or how little training you wish to receive is up to you, but you’ll want to start out with programs certified by the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), as well as your local mediator organization, like the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA). Even though there’s no formal certification process for mediators in California, solid training is essential.

Many mediators train and re-train throughout their lifetimes, enjoying the new perspective that each conference or training course gives. There are many quality courses offered in California, some privately and some through government agencies. The Association for Conflict Resolution lists certified training courses on its web site, http://www.acrnet.org. Training classes are also listed on Mediate.com and the Southern California Mediation Association’s web site, http://www.scmediation.org. ACR holds an annual conference, as does the SCMA. Although the ACR conference is a national conference, held in different states each year, you can find more local conferences like the California State Bar Association’s ADR South Committee’s one-day conference, held each year at Pepperdine University in Malibu. These are just a few of the places you might look for a taste of what a career in mediation might look like.

You’ll also want to join professional organizations, like the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association, the ADR Section of the California Bar Association, and your local bar associations as well as ACR and the California Dispute Resolution Council, to keep abreast of developments in the field as well as to network and form study groups. Join a few professional organizations, and volunteer on the committees. You’ll get the opportunity to propose legislation that affects the mediation field, you’ll help the group offer training in mediation or specialized skill areas that affect mediation, and you’ll increase your profile in the field. Even if you’re new to mediation, you have skills which you can offer to these professional organizations which will help you advance your mediation skills while helping the organization itself. For example, as a new member of SCMA, I volunteered to co-chair the Los Angeles Roundtable. As I helped to organize each meeting, I met the area’s top mediators and had an intimate opportunity to hear them speak. I didn’t know much about mediation when I started, but by the end of the year I’d learned the best tips from the top practitioners in Los Angeles.

You may find that the professional organization for your underlying field also has a mediation committee, such as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee for the local Bar Association, Therapists’ Association, or Construction Contractors’ Association. And, if your underlying field does not have an ADR Committee, here’s your change to get one started!

Mediating Actual Conflicts

Once you’ve got your training, the next question most people ask is “how do I get started in mediating actual conflicts?” There are as many ways to get started mediating as there are paths to the profession itself. Many people choose to join volunteer panels and community mediation programs. Some examples of these are the programs offered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Centinela Valley Juvenile Diversion Program, the United States Postal Service, and the Superior Court. There are also several local for-profit panels of mediators, as well as nationally known panels like JAMS and the American Arbitration Association. Most beginning mediators start out on a smaller local panel or volunteer panel, however. Many of these programs offer mentoring programs, or you can sign up for a mentor through your local bar association or mediator association.

Career Opportunities

Except for the large panels and in-house corporate or government positions, mediation practices are, by and large, boutique firms or solo practices. The opportunities for being employed by one of these firms are few and far between, but there are nevertheless opportunities. The SCMA web site has a listing of job offers, but networking through professional organizations is a great way to hear about these [often unadvertised] jobs. Starting and building your own practice is also a choice many mediators ultimately make. Adding mediation to your existing career is where many mediators start their transition into a mediation career.

Once you’ve been to a mediation training, you can start to implement your mediation skills on a daily basis in your current work situation, form helping manage employee conflicts, or offering mediation as one of your services to existing clients. You may wish to take a mediation marketing course, such as the courses offered by Golden Media, Mosten Mediation Training, or the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine. There are also several books on the subject, such as Mediation Career Guide (Wiley/Jossey Bass 2002) by Forrest S. Mosten and Becoming a Mediator: Your Guide to Career Opportunities (Nolo Press 2004) by Peter Lovenheim.

Diana Mercer Bio

Diana Mercer, Esq. is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services in Los Angeles, California (http://www.peace-talks.com). A veteran litigator, she now devotes her practice solely to mediation. Outgoing and down-to-earth, she makes clients and attorneys feel at ease in solving litigation disputes in civil cases, from divorces to employment law and real estate. She is the co-author of Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Fireside 2001). She’s an Advanced Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and is admitted to practice law in California, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and before the United States Supreme Court.





Free Training Solution - Free Online Training Courses

free online training courses Free Training Solution.com is a portal to our favorite free online training resources on the web. The courses listed on this site include topics ranging from desktop support to wine tasting. A fun aspect of the site is a calculator which allows you to determine whether you can pass a class based on the number of points you have earned so far, the required passing grade and other factors. This is definitely a valuable tool for any student who wants to know whether they should hit the books or the beach!




Start Up Course - Start an Online Business

how to start a business online This course is a free topical introduction to starting a web business. Anyone can enroll in the course and complete a self-paced program resulting in a certificate upon successful completion. The topics include domain registration and hosting, security, web design, search optimization, legal considerations and many other essential components of the online business model.





Vocational Partners - Build a Free Resume Online

build an online resume The Vocational Partners program allows jobseekers to build a professional resume, cover letter and thank you letter using an online learning platform. In addition, succesful applicants receive a certificate upon completing a job skills assessment, interview skills training and other important exercises designed to polish the professional portfolio of job seekers in the new economy.






Online Mediation Training

online mediation training Of course, if you've arrived at this page from elsewhere on the web, you may not be aware of our most popular program: The Free Mediation Course. This course has drawn thousands of individuals from all over the world. It is a California MCLE course but is applicable to nearly any profession. Students who pass the final exam will receive an electronic certificate verifying their successful completion of this online mediation training program. The course covers mediation concepts and techniques for negotiators and mediators alike.