Helping unemployed Americans 55 years old and older

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Linda Clark went back into the workforce at 61 years old.

"I knew how to answer the phone, but that's not hardly enough," said Clark.

She says her age was the biggest obstacle for her when looking for a job.

"It doesn't matter what people say, when you're past 60, they're a little bit more hesitant about hiring you," said Clark.

According to the Labor Department, nearly 15 million Americans are out of work--2.2 million are 55 or older.

"A lot of people have retired and are discovering that they still don't have enough money to survive," said Arkansas State Director for Experience Works, Christy Manning-Owen.

It's forcing them back into the workforce.

"We have a lot of people in that age group of 55 to 65 because they have to go back to work," said Manning-Owen.

Not only do they need extra money because there may be no supplemental income, often times they need extra skills to compete, that's where Experience Works steps in.

"We work with people who are 55 and older.   The purpose of our program is to get people back into the workforce," said Manning-Owen.

Teaching computer skills, resume building....essentially, helping to lay a foundation.

"We go directly to the hiring people and find out directly, what do you want from people coming in your door?  Then we're able to impart that knowledge on people we work with also," said Manning-Owen.

"I had not filled out a resume for 20 something years," said Linda Clark.

Linda Clark says she was able to take advantage of Experience Works programs, learning new skills you can't put a price tag on.  She adds she and many other mature workers bring something to the table that she says can be just as valuable.

"We have life experience that help us," said Clark.

If you would like more information about Experience Works, you can call 933-9696.

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