I met a woman from Maryland who lost a professional job in the construction industry. She did everything right but couldn't get hired. After two years she found work as a receptionist and is back on her feet.
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Older job seekers are currently out of work for about a year. That can feel like a lifetime. For older workers, long-term unemployment can jeopardize retirement security. Wages lost during prime earning years may diminish Social Security benefits or force the jobless to dip into retirement benefits early.
No one can measure the toll unemployment takes on the human soul. For many, living with "dignity and purpose" (AARP's vision) means having a job.
Getting back to work is a pressing priority, and AARP is right there with you. We continue our fight against negative stereotypes of older workers, using the facts — experienced employees are among the most reliable, most loyal and most engaged. Plus, we have practical advice and real connections for you.
Learn to cyber-search. Work Reimagined is a new service developed by AARP and powered by LinkedIn, the world's largest job-related social-networking and job-hunting site. Work Reimagined offers a network of contacts, thousands of job postings and links to businesses — from AT&T to YMCA/Rochester — that want experienced workers. These employers signed a pledge committing themselves to an age-diverse workplace (workreimagined.org).
Start your own business. Many Americans are becoming entrepreneurs. AARP and the U.S. Small Business Administration joined forces to link 100,000 Americans age 50-plus with small-business-development resources, including live workshops, conferences and mentoring programs (aarp.org/startabusiness).
Find the best employers. For more than a decade, AARP's Best Employers for Workers Over 50 program has recognized employers with progressive policies on recruiting and retaining older employees. Use the website's list of winners to search for an employer who will appreciate your experience (aarp.org/bestemployers).
Get "how to" advice. AARP's online resources include articles, quizzes, ideas for home-based jobs, age-discrimination detectors and information to help you shape a rewarding career for yourself (aarp.org/work).
More is in the works, and I'll keep you posted. We're in this together!
Robert Romasco was elected by the AARP Board of Directors to serve as president for the 2012-2014 biennium.
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