Marion Zimmer Bradley used to advise people on how to escape utter poverty. A successful writer, well regarded speaker and family person, she also took a fair amount of time to help others. Her preferred path was to have people learn typing and filing skills. One high school typing class is all the training it takes and local government, health care and business had an almost endless appetite for workers at that level (the classic "clerk-typist" position). My summer before law school I worked in one of these jobs when my internship was disrupted by someone who held my mail.
Photocopies and word processing dropped the number of typists by 70% or more. The career path no longer exists as it once was. There are few replacements. They are not as easy physically or as pleasant. Filing jobs still exist, though computers continue to consume them. I'm posting about an alternative.
The first alternative is the certified nurses aide. It is a six week class, often a hospital will subsidize it for a worker. Bottom rung job in health care. But from there, there are a number of related training opportunities. CNA -> tech -> advanced tech or practical nurse -> advanced nursing degree or advanced tech or physician's assistant. Working and going to school or training. From the bottom rung to more than $200,000.00 a year (without becoming an M.D.).
Harder, not as pleasant, but you can start that path without any skill but the ability to read at a sixth grade level or less and the ability to work with alacrity. Many women take the path to escape abusive or hopeless situations, many men to find a place to start working when they've bottomed out of school and life. I've taken the depositions of doctors who got a similar start.
The road can be very long, but it is a road and one that almost anyone can start.
There are not that many lifelines out there. This is one.