Everyone would love something of quality for free, but rarely do we get that.

In the nation’s capital, however, we do get to enjoy some rare gems. The Smithsonian museums, as well as many other establishments, are free for us to use. We have amazing monuments and national parks that cost nothing to visit, and you can attend a free concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

But wait, there’s more: You can also find free assistance, training and education that can benefit your career. Here are some helpful hints.

Career help available

The BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) of 2005 officially ended in September, but the BRAC Transition Center in Arlington County that has been operating on U.S. Department of Labor funds meant specifically to assist affected Department of Defense workers remains open and ready to help. There were tens of thousands of BRAC Impacted Workers and contractors who had to move when their agencies relocated.

The transition center offers free workshops taught by national experts on the federal job search and application process, including myself and Kathryn Troutman from the Resume Place. The center also provides career consultations and resume critiques. It even includes services for those considering entrepreneurship. Your spouse and dependant (a child who is 18 or older living at home) can also receive these same free services.

Another tip: If you are a federal job seeker or employee of any agency looking for a job, you might also get into a workshop for free, if there is room. BRAC Impacted Workers are a priority, but it never hurts to call and ask.

These services won’t last forever, so if you are eligible to use them take advantage of them now. Call 703-418-1130. Or go to www.bracarlingtonva.us.

Record mangement
The career field of records management has grown over the past several years, especially as agencies, companies and organizations have seen the importance of ensuring they are able to archive and access massive amounts of data.

As this field has developed, so has the training. If you’re looking for training in this field, you are in luck. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has free and low-cost training available. These include an Electronics Archive Records Boot Camp and classes on Record Management for IT Professionals. These classes are primarily for federal employees and contractors, but, again, it never hurts to call to see whether there is room for you. Check out the Web site at nara.learn.com.

Enjoy the area’s free museums and concerts, but don’t miss out on some of the free career assistance and training.

Derrick T. Dortch, president of the Diversa Group, is a career counselor who specializes in government job searches and military transition. Send your comments and questions to fedworker@washpost.com.