How do I market myself when all I am is a self “educated” stay at home dad?

Hey there! I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for 16 years, and last year my (now) ex-husband and I separated. I need and want to get into the workforce but I have no idea how to market myself. I have some education experience but I’ve never graduated. I spent 3 years at one school pursuing graphic design, transferred to another school for a few IT classes, and now I am currently doing a medical coding and billing specialist program. I was thinking after this program applying for WIOA funding to do a medical assistant program. I’m trying to get into volunteering in my community (to gain some sort of professional experience and to provide service). And I am looking into possibly doing AmeriCorps VISTA program as well (it really is a great program that can help me get some work experience and afterwards I get money I can put towards my student loan debt).

Other than formal education, I have taught myself a lot of the knowledge I have like computer systems information (I build my own computers and helped friends with theirs), troubleshooting electronics, information/data collection. I also have very good research skills (I’m the one everyone goes to when they want a whole bunch of information but they don’t want to do the work finding the information).

I’ve only worked a very small time in my life (3 months in 2006 at Pizza Hut and 3 months in 2019 as a transcriptionist). I have old volunteer experience (2012-2014) but I am not in contact with anyone from that organization that I would feel comfortable using as a reference at this point in my life. I am not part of a religious community to use any experience there. In terms of references, all I have is 3 friends to use for obtaining a character reference, but would it be wrong to use them since they are one household?

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