As unemployment figures remain high across the nation and some seniors struggle to attain financial security heading into retirement, the U.S. Department of Labor and AARP have both launched initiatives in recent days aimed at helping the older population to get jobs, and, by extension, retirement security.
AARP’s new service, called Work Reimagined, makes use of social networking to help experienced professionals find leads and personal connections “needed to succeed and compete in today’s job market,” says the nonprofit organization.
The free program gives users access to job listings posted by employers committed to recruiting workers of all ages and provides work resources and tools. It also allows users to connect with business contacts through social media site LinkedIn.
“The participating employers at Work Reimagined are committed to recruiting workers of all ages, and many of these companies have immediate hiring needs,” says AARP executive Adam Sohn, who managed the development of Work Reimagined.
AARP was included in the Labor Department announcement last week that it would be awarding nearly $260 million in grants to 15 nonprofit organizations across the country to provide job training and related services through programs seeking to increase the employment—and retirement security—of low-income seniors.
“The federal grants announced today will provide job training to enhance low-income seniors’ employment opportunities and contribute millions of community service hours to nonprofit and civic organizations throughout the country,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a statement. “These organizations are crucial partners in serving seniors who face challenges in re-entering the workforce and attaining economic stability.”
The department is making 16 one-year grants to 15 national nonprofit organizations. The grants will support more than 35,000 positions, and state and territorial grantees that have already received funding through the Senior Community Service Employment program will continue to support more than 10,000 positions.
Through the program, individuals age 55 and older receive training through part-time, service-oriented positions in their communities while earning the highest of the federal, state, or local minimum wage. The program’s goals are to promote community service and to help participants achieve economic self-sufficiency by helping them achieve unsubsidized employment, where appropriate.
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office regarding unemployed older Americans and the effects of joblessness on retirement security says that older workers who become unemployed tend to stay unemployed longer than their younger counterparts, and sustain greater wage losses as well.
Experience Works, Inc., AARP Foundation Inc., and Senior Service America Inc. received the largest grants, totaling roughly $154 million.
Written by Alyssa Gerace