Baby Boomers | Unexpected long-term unemployment

10:27 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Across the board, unemployment has affected people of all ages. But Baby Boomers are facing a particular challenge -- long-term unemployment.

Channel 3's Tom Beres tells us about a program that's helping older workers get back on their feet and back on-the-job.

For William Swain, his job is about more than delivering meals to homebound senior citizens.

Cleveland resident William Swain, 55, understands the implications of being older and unemployed. He was laid off from a job in sales and had to turn to day labor.

"It was a total nightmare, wondering if you're going to be able to make ends meet," he says.

Swain found help from the AARP Foundation's Senior Employment Program, which offers free job training and pairs older workers with businesses on a trial period.

AARP pays the wages and workman's compensation while employers get to try out a new worker.

[Employers] get a chance to see these folks before they actually hire them," explains Michelle Simko, program director for AARP.

Swain was paired with the Westside Community House and has been hired part-time to deliver meals, though he is still looking for full-time work.

"When you see them and they light up, that let's you know that you're appreciated," Swain said.

He is like a growing number of older workers experiencing long periods of unemployment.

Prior to the recession, the duration of unemployment for job seekers 55 and older was 10 weeks.

By 2011, the length jumped to 35 weeks.

Many people are forced to claim retirement benefits earlier than planned, leading to lower monthly income for the rest of their lives.

Michelle Simko, AARP Project Director, said "Maybe the last time they applied for a job was 20 years ago, and, boy, the job market has really changed."

She is the program director at AARP'S senior employment program, which helps older workers re-enter the workforce more quickly.

The program offers free job training and pairs older workers with businesses on a trial basis.

AARP pays the wages while the employers get to try out a new worker.

AARP Senior Employment

Simko said "So they get a chance to see these folks before they actually hire them."

Yvette Medina, of the West Side Community House, said "It's just great to be able to help them out when at a time when they're in need."

To be eligible for the A.A.R.P. Senior Employment Program, people must be 55 years or older, unemployed, living in Cuyahoga County and in financial need.

For more information, call (216) 881-1155.

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