Resources for Job-Hunting Seniors: ~Tom Lauricella: WSJ
Great read for us more mature and wise people.
The tough employment market of the past few years has been particularly hard on people age 55-plus. But older job seekers don’t have to go it alone. A number of online tools — as well as in-person training centers scattered across the country — can provide support.
The hurdles that older adults face in finding work today are considerable. They include basic age discrimination, as well as rapid changes in information technology. The latter, in particular, have transformed not just the workplace, but the job search itself, leaving many older adults at a disadvantage.
Older workers “really have a hard time becoming re-employed,” Mr. Johnson says.
To help older workers, the Department of Labor in 2009 awarded $10 million in grants to organizations in Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington state and Wisconsin. This new program, called the Aging Worker Initiative, is aimed at helping anyone 55 and older who is unemployed or underemployed — earning, say, close to the minimum wage. (The list of program managers can be found by searching dol.gov for the Aging Workers Initiative.)
This effort is in addition to the long-standing Senior Community Service Employment Program. SCSEP offers a job-training program for those in low-income families and the unemployed.
The Aging Worker Initiative programs generally start with the basics, such as training older workers to be more tech-savvy. That includes showing them where to look for jobs online. One prominent example: careeronestop.org, the Department of Labor-sponsored website offering thousands of job listings nationwide.
In addition, the programs often provide tutoring on how to handle interviews and job fairs as well as highlighting resume do’s and don’ts. (Do emphasize your skills; don’t include items that reveal your age.)
But what sets these programs apart is their ability to go beyond advice that can be found online. At Goodwill Industries of Houston, for example, coaches start with a program called “Yes you can” to rebuild confidence.
“These are people who have had the door closed in their face and told they can’t be employed for one reason or another,” says Steven Lufburrow, president of Goodwill Industries. “Their confidence is blown, and part of the job is to build that back up.”
The Tecumseh Area Partnership, which services residents of 12 counties in west-central Indiana and operates a website, maturitymatters.org, holds weekly meetings for job-hunters that can act as support groups or networking opportunities. Tecumseh also helps arrange internships, with paid stipends, lasting one to three months for job-seekers.
For residents of eight counties around Harrisburg, Pa., the South Central Workforce Investment Board offers grants to job-hunters to subsidize retraining. The board is also working with local manufacturing, health-care and information-technology companies to subsidize continuing education programs for existing older workers who need retraining.
The Quad Area Community Action Agency in Hammond, La., will steer local job-seekers to local colleges where they can take non-accredited courses. Quad Area, whose senior employment website is silverforce.org, also partners with several dozen businesses for job postings.
Another resource for face-to-face help is the AARP Foundation’s WorkSearch program. While primarily an online service, the foundation has partnered with 10 organizations around the country where, free of charge, anyone age 50-plus can search for jobs or sign up for training and classes. To find if there’s a nearby WorkSearch location, job-hunters can call 877-659-0969.
These centers complement the information and tools available online on the WorkSearch website, aarpworksearch.org. This comprehensive offering provides an extensive tutorial on hunting for a job, ranging from the big-picture (matching your personality with a job) to the detailed: what to wear on job interviews and 14 do’s and don’ts for handling phone calls during the job search.
In addition, AARP in September launched its own jobs search engine at jobs.aarp.org. In partnership with Indeed.com (a job search site), the AARP website folds in resources from WorkSearch.
The AARP website isn’t the first on the block to target older workers. Workforce50.com, and its predecessor, seniorjobbank.org, traces its roots back to 1975 and offers tens of thousands of job listings. Retirementjobs.com has been around since 2005. The website publishes 20,000 to 30,000 job listings per month, says founder Tim Driver, from companies that it deems friendly to workers over 50 years old.