Barack Obama Stimulus to Help
More Jobless Baby Boomers
Unemployed Baby Boomers in northwest Ohio will get more job-seeking help through the National Economic Stimulus Package.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing an additional $23 million to the Ohio office of Experience Works, a national nonprofit that administers the Senior Community Service Employment Program.
The program, which began in 1965 as part of the "War on Poverty," provides job training and a minimum wage to participants -- unemployed workers over 55 who meet low-income eligibility guidelines.
"We try to get them new job skills and abilities to get jobs at agencies where they're training, or at local business[es]," said Kent Kahn, business and community liaison for Experience Works, which oversees the program in 34 northwest Ohio counties.
The organization's main Ohio office is in Lima, but it has satellite offices in Toledo, Mansfield, Ada, and Zanesville.
"With the high unemployment rate, it's harder for older workers to get jobs because they're competing with people of all ages who sometimes have more skills," Mr. Kahn added.
The program provides enough funding annually to help about 500 seniors at a time in northwest Ohio. With enrollees moving into the work force, a total of about 850 can be assisted annually.
In Lucas County, about 111 seniors are in the program at any time, and the added funding will allow another 20 enrollees a year. The extra funding should allow for 100 more seniors to be helped in northwest Ohio, Mr. Kahn said.
Guidelines are tight. To be eligible, a single-person household cannot have annual income above $13,538, and for a two-person household, no more than $18,213. During training, participants are paid the federal minimum wage for 20 hours a week, and enrollees can stay in the pro-gram up to 48 months.
After Sandra Adams, 60, was laid off in 2006 from her retail shipping/receiving clerk job, she filled out more than 100 job applications and sent out more than 50 resumes.
"I got two job interviews in two years," she said.
"It's the age thing," Ms. Adams said. "Seniors are discriminated against. That's the bottom line."
She joined the federal program in July for clerical classes.
"I've been in the program for six months and I don't have a job yet, but I'm confident I'll get one," Ms. Adams said. "You get so down when you don't get interviews or hired.
"I have a new outlook, and I've learned I have some brains at my age and I can contribute. I can do some things."
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