Helping older Americans find meaningful employment

While many people think of older adults as retirees, the truth is millions of Americans aged 65+ work full or part-time jobs every day. The reasons they work are varied, but for many, it is a matter of necessity in order to remain financially secure and independent. Others work to stay active and engaged in their communities.

However, an AARP survey of older workers found that half of those who had experienced unemployment between 2010-2014 were still not working at the end of that five-year period. In 2014, 218,000 of these job seekers stopped looking for employment because they believed that none was available, employers will find them too old, they lacked the necessary schooling/training, or they faced other types of discrimination. One such example is Karl, a recent participant in the inaugural cohort of workers participating in the Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) Senior Workforce Center.

Karl is 71 years old and had worked for one employer for 57 years. He had served in every possible role, and the customers knew him very well. When the owner of the store passed away, Karl lost the only job he ever had.

Karl was referred to JFCS by a friend. He had never written an application letter or gone through an interview process. He had not finished high school and his resume had only one job in the employment section. He also has several health issues that would need special accommodations at a new employer. Like other employees of his generation, he was absolutely loyal to his former workplace. The Committee on Economic Development indicates that companies rate older workers high on characteristics such as judgment, commitment to quality, attendance, and punctuality.

The Senior Workforce Center worked with Karl to develop his interview and computer skills and instructed him how to apply for jobs online. “I am so grateful for the workshops which helped to boost my confidence.  I feel ready for the job search process, which is now more complicated,” said Karl after the January workshops.

Today Karl is gainfully employed by Kroger, one of the Senior Workforce Center’s employer partners, and here are many more success stories like Karl’s – Mary, who is a retired real estate broker, Pete, who is a retired manager, and Jack, who is a retired business owner. All have similar stories.

Since October 2016, the Senior Workforce Center at JFCS has served the unique needs of people who are 65+ and wish to continue working. As the population ages, older Americans will play an increasingly important role in our economy. By 2019, more than 40% of Americans aged 55+ will be employed, making up more than 25% of the U.S. labor force. JFCS and the Senior Workforce Center are here to help mature workers re-enter the workforce or start a new chapter as they explore second career options.

ATTENTION JOB SEEKERS: If you or someone you know is interested in this program, please call 502-452-6341 and ask for the Senior Workforce Center.

ATTENTION EMPLOYERS: Businesses are realizing there exists a significant untapped resource in the employee applicant pool, and those prospects are older workers. If you have job openings, please contact the Senior Workforce Center so that we can help to find the right employee for you!

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