Broome said that for those who are older than 55, the job market is particularly difficult. "We have to prove ourselves a lot more than a younger person," she said. "We really do."
In the end, Broome applied for hundreds of jobs before landing the position at Bowie State. Last fall, when the university first hired her as a temporary employee, Broome said Wechsler acted as though he was the one who had gotten the job.
"I mean, he was so excited. … He was like, 'Oh, wow!' " she said. "You know, he just went off on the other end of the phone. He started laughing, and then I was laughing," she said.
Now Broome has settled in at Bowie State, which is just a 10-minute drive from her home. When needed, she provides backup as an administrative assistant, and J. Winona M. Taylor of the Department of Educational Studies and Leadership applauded Broome's job performance.
"Consuella has been a joy to work with since joining Bowie State University and the Department of Educational Studies and Leadership," Taylor said in an email. "She completes the tasks assigned to her so quickly that I have almost assigned her to work with one of the faculty exclusively. She has a zeal to learn and jumps at every opportunity afforded her by the university."
Broome spoke at a recent AARP Foundation luncheon honoring virtual job coach volunteers. It was the first time she and Wechsler met face-to-face, and she concluded her remarks by singing the gospel song "I'm Looking for a Miracle."
"I found my miracle through AARP," Broome said.
Editor's note: AARP Foundation's Income Impact team is currently using the knowledge gained from running its three-year WorkSearch program to develop new programs that will make critical community employment services even more accessible to struggling people 50-plus. More details about these programs will be announced later this fall.
Michael McAuliffe is a volunteer with the AARP Foundation.
Also of interest: ElderWatch protects seniors from fraud. »