Monday, April 25, 2011

Resources for Job-Hunting Seniors

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.

Statistics show the need for a leveling of a playing field that's tilted against older workers. In 2010, among those aged 50 and over and out of work, more than 53% were unemployed for more than six months, according to government data analyzed by Richard Johnson, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. In contrast, 46% of jobless men ages 25 to 49 were out of work for more than six months.

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 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:, the Department of Labor-sponsored website offering thousands of job listings nationwide.

More Advice and Complete WSJ Article

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