You’re over 50 and have been out of work for over 99 weeks. Many employers regard you as washed out, over the hill, essentially unemployable. You’re at the end of your rope and despair is sinking in. Nothing you’ve tried seems to work in getting a sales job—any sales job.
Sadly, when 99ers finally do get a job, they drop from high-5 and low-6 figure professional positions to jobs just above minimum wage. Fortunately, there are those who sympathize with you—and more importantly, can help you. One such organization, known as "Platform to Employment" offers help and hope.
"If someone is out of work for a while, the perception from employers is that there must be something wrong with you, and after a couple of years the people themselves begin to believe they don't have any value, that it's over for them," said Joe Carbone, who created Platform to Employment, a five-week program that retrains "99ers" in eight-week internships with the goal of finding gainful employment. The public-private partnership gives employers a risk-free opportunity to evaluate and consider hiring 99ers during an eight-week work experience program. Wages are subsidized with private investment funds and 99ers can demonstrate they have the skills, ability and drive to compete in the global marketplace. Platform to Employment offers three tiers of critical assistance:
Tier One – Job Readiness. Coaching, workshops and hands-on training to hone necessary job skills.
Tier Two – Emotional Readiness. Counseling and behavioral health services to manage stress and build confidence.
Tier Three – 8 Week Work Experience. The worker’s first eight weeks on the job are subsidized. Employers offer a critical opportunity, hope, and a chance to evaluate a new population of job-ready applicants.
Many of today’s over-50 99ers are discouraged and living on the edge, drawing on savings and losing faith in the job market. Operation ABLE is another place these 99ers can go for help in finding work.
"It's not new that older workers have a more challenging time," said Joan Cirillo, president of Operation ABLE, the Boston-based nonprofit that focuses on finding work for older workers. "There are a lot of pre-retirees who would have liked to retire but lost a big portion of their portfolio," she said. "And those who don't find anything wind up living a limited life, tapping into their 401k and many then becoming discouraged workers."
Like Platform to Employment, ABLE’s Midternships allow employers to try out professional, experienced workers as a potential employee, risk free. Out of work seniors acquire valuable, short-term experience and an opportunity to show their potential. It’s a great way to add new skills and current OJT to your resume.
If you’re an over-50, 99er, don’t lose hope. There are things you can do to find a job, and employers who value your experience and maturity.
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