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Resources for Job-Hunting Seniors
published Aug 1, 2011

Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you recommend some good resources to help job hunting seniors? I’m 60 years old and have been out of work for nearly six months now and need some help. What can you tell me?
Seeking Employment
 
Dear Seeking,
The tough employment market over the past few years has been particularly hard on people over the age of 55. Fortunately, there are a number of online tools and in-person training centers scattered across the country today that can help. Here’s what you should know.
 
In-Person Help
A good first step to get help finding a job is at a Career One-Stop center. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, these are free job resource centers that can help you explore career options, search for jobs, find training, write a resume, prepare for an interview and much more. There are around 3,000 of these centers located throughout the country. To find one near you, call 877-348-0502 or go to careeronestop.org.
 
Depending on your financial situation, another program that may help is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Also sponsored by the Department of Labor, SCSEP offers access to training and part time job placements in a wide variety of community service positions such as day care centers, senior centers, governmental agencies, schools, hospitals, libraries and landscaping centers. To qualify, participants must be over 55, unemployed and earning less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level – $13,600 a year. Unfortunately, 2011 federal budget cuts have significantly reduced this program funding, but it’s still a viable option. To learn more or locate a program in your area visit www.doleta.gov/seniors or call 877-872-5627.
 
In addition to the national resources, some states, communities and local nonprofit organizations may offer their own senior employment programs. For example, in certain areas in Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington state and Wisconsin there are Aging Worker Initiative programs to help local job seekers 55 and older. To find out if your community offers any locally-based senior employment programs, contact the Area Agency on Aging – call 800-677-1116 or see www.eldercare.gov to get your local number.
 
AARP WorkSearch
Another resource that offers free job help is the AARP Foundation WorkSearch Virtual Job Coach program. This is a volunteer-run program that helps any job-seeker (you don’t need to be an AARP member), age 40 and older, by connecting you with a trained volunteer to help you search for jobs and get training. The coaching is typically done via e-mail or over the phone. Call 877-659-0969 or visit aarpworksearch.org to find help.
 
In addition, AARP also offers a jobs search engine that you can access at jobs.aarp.org. Or, if you want in-person assistance, AARP has 23 WorkSearch facilities around the country that provide free face-to-face help. To search for a facility, contact your state AARP office. See aarp.org/states or call 888-687-2277 for contact information. 
 
Online Resources
There’s also a wide array of online employment networks that can help you connect with companies that are interested in hiring older workers. One of the best is retirementjobs.com, which offers a job search engine that lists more than 30,000 jobs nationwide from companies that are actively seeking workers over the age of 50. It also provides job-seeking tips and advice, helps with resume writing and allows you to post your resume online for companies to find you.
 
Some other 50-plus job seeking sites worth a look are seniors4hire.com, workforce50.com, retiredbrains.com, retireeworkforce.com, wiserworker.com, seniorjobbank.com, enrge.us (a site devoted to retired government employees) and yourencore.com (an online recruitment firm that connects retired scientists, developers and engineers with companies that offer consulting assignments).
 
Start a Business
If you’re interested in starting a small business but could use some help getting started, turn to the U.S. Small Business Administration which offers tips, tools and free online courses that you can access at sba.gov. Also see score.org a nonprofit association that provides free business advice for entrepreneurs.

Savvy Senior is written by Jim Miller. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.

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