New program helps the over 50 crowd get jobs

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- Getting people who are over the age of 50 back to work is the focus of a new networking program at the Mesa County Workforce Center.

There are more than 6,000 people registered in the Mesa County Workforce Center database seeking jobs in Mesa County and 40 percent of those are over the age of 50.

After seeing the frustrations of people over 50 years old struggling to find jobs in our community, the new networking program is hoping to employ the older crowd. The first goal is to change their mindset that age is an asset not a detriment.

“When I was younger, I didn't feel like I ever had any trouble finding a job,” said Deborah Watson. “But the older I get, I do see more of a challenge.

Watson has been looking for full-time employment for about 10 months now.

“When some of us over 50 apply, I think employers do not want to invest time into us because, they feel like, in a year or two we will want to retire, which is not always the case,” said Watson.

Michael Smith is an employment specialist at the Mesa County Workforce Center. His job is to help the over 50 crowd nail a job.

“They feel like everything is impersonal now. They can't get that one-on-one, face-to-face interview everything is done online. Sometimes attaching a resume online or copy and pasting a resume into a job application can be difficult.” said Michael Smith, “They would prefer a call back from an employer, just saying yes or no. Sometimes they apply for a position online and don't hear a response back.”

Times have changed, so Smith is trying to get the experienced generation back in the game, by starting this new networking group.

“I think the support is huge because they understand the frustration they are going through,” said Smith.

A presentation Tuesday morning included a reality check with things like resume critiques or a personality check.There are also some applications do's and don'ts to get that job offer.

“They have foundational skills to do the job, they just need the opportunity to show their worth,” Smith said.

The networking group meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at the Workforce Center from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m..

If someone needs a little extra help, the Workforce Center does offer computer literacy classes, resume building workshops, and people can use the computers there to apply for jobs.

Click the link on the right side of this screen for more information.

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