Age 50 And Over Job Seekers Get Help

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Job seekers over 50 may be hurting more in this tough economy as Ohio’s unemployment rate stands at 10 point five percent. And some experts say the jobless rate is worse than reported. Some organizations designed to help seniors find jobs are stepping up to provide needed help.

“My success is that I finally understand at the gut level what a skill statement really means,” Ferguson said.

Dianne Ferguson is fine tuning her resume with the help of Sharron Hamersley at 40 Plus in Grandview. Ferguson moved back to Ohio from Portland, Oregon and wants to transfer her skills in English and Spanish from the education field. Ferguson joined 5 others at the Friday Job Circle to talk about the successes and challenges of the week.

“I don’t think probably there’s anybody that isn’t impacted today. It’s the nature of the situation we’re in. You have to deal with it the best you can. It means I have to play a smarter game. That’s all,” said Ferguson.

“I guess I have to consider this a success because I didn’t find a job, but I found the posting for a job that actually is an engineering applications job,” Whitley explained.

Mechanical Engineer, Dan Whitley has been out of work for a year. His last job was in Charleston, West Virginia. The Ohio native understands how those out of work for longer than a year are hurting.

“I was very disappointed for those people, their employment benefits were cut off. Because I know the unemployment benefits I receive, while it’s only a portion of what I made before, it helps to pay the mortgage, extremely important,” Whitley said.

Whitley and other job seekers at 40 Plus pay a fee to get assistance with writing a resume that is targeted for a specific job. They learn how to use social networking sites like Linked In, and Face Book to find jobs. And many of them volunteer their time to improve the 28 year old non-profit group. Chair of the Training Committee, Sharon Hamersley is also looking for work.

“I really struggle with people who think that people who are unemployed are lazy somehow because at least I have seen none here that are lazy. I’ve seen a lot of very hardworking people. They’re probably working harder here even than they ever worked in their jobs,” Hamersley commented.

Hamersley says 70% of those looking for work at 40 Plus do find a job. At another non- profit agency Employment for Seniors 12-hundred new clients are expected this year. Executive Director, Carol Ventresca.

“Our seniors have been in the same situation as younger individuals. The unemployment benefits have been necessary for them to be able keep their homes, to pay medical bills, so it has been critical for many of them,” Ventresca said.

Ventresca says those over 50 are ready to contribute again to the workplace. “It is amazing to me how many seniors come in and have good computer skills,” exclaimed Ventresca.

Employment for Seniors helps those over 50 learn how to write an attractive resume and use the agency’s website to find a job that matches their skills.

“It is very tough for seniors because there are so many people looking for work, very talented people. Many come and say I have those minimum qualifications but the problem is so do 100 other people have the minimum qualifications. But the one thing about seniors is they are tenacious. And if they know they need to learn something it may take them awhile, but they are going to learn it. They are going to do it,” added Ventresca.

Ventresca says in this job market employers are taking longer to decide on candidates and offering less money, but persistence can pay off for senior workers.