Job Search & Career Resources for the 55+ Crowd

Whether you’re in the 55+ job seeker category yet or not, the job search and career resources available for that group will undoubtedly become important to you at some point. That’s especially true if the tendency of too many companies to base their hiring decisions on perceived age-related drawbacks stays as active as it has been in the past.

Job Search Challenges for 55+ Job Seekers

According to Experience Works (formerly Green Thumb), “Finding a new job is never easy. For the growing number of Americans age 55 and older the road blocks to employment are many.”

To name just a few employment obstacles:

  • Growing numbers of people staying in the work-force past age 65 through either economic necessity or through a desire to stay active.
  • Factory, plant, and other business closures that have forced many employees into unemployment–even companies that have been in business for many years.
  • Employer’s misconceptions about the ability of older workers to cope with the demands of modern business, technology changes, etc.

Resources–What’s Being Done for 55+ Workers?

Experience Works places a high priority on helping older workers improve their employability by increasing or broadening their skills. As their brochure indicates, they provide support through “training, community service, and employment.” The brochure also makes an excellent point about the trend toward more and more older workers throughout the United States, with 1 in 4 being age 55 or older by 2020–that’s just 5 years away, folks! Also, women and other groups, such as veterans, will make up a growing portion of those older workers.

Experience Works also mentions that a key piece of their activities involves the U.S. Department of Labor effort called “Senior Community Service Employment Program,” which began as part of the War on Poverty aimed at getting older people back in the active work-force. So what other resources might exist that could benefit 55+ workers with their job search?

AARP: This organization used to be called the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons, but today it serves a much broader population than that, including job seekers who are in their late 40s and early 50s and might be several years (a decade or more) away from retirement.

AARP’s resources include:

  • The Work channel
  • The National Employer Team
  • The Water Cooler (online community group)
  • Employment assistance through the AARP Foundation’s WorkSearch Assessment System and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

The AARP website includes a list of more than 15 online job search and career resources for 55+ workers. You don’t have to limit yourselves to just Experience Works or to AARP itself. Take some time to explore those sites and see what you can come up with that might help you (or someone you know) who’s facing the 55+ job-seeking challenge and put you back in the “game.”

If you’re currently working and feel reasonably secure in your present situation, count your blessings! (And don’t get too complacent–keep this information handy for future reference.)

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