Connecting Older Workers, Long-Term Unemployed With Jobs

Filed in Jobs, Unemployment by on February 19, 2013 11 Comments

Did you know that the age group most impacted by long-term unemployment − that is, 27 weeks or longer − is workers 55 and older? And while the ranks of the long-term unemployed have been steadily declining over the past year, there are still 4.7 million people in this category according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Local job clubs, career ministries and job search support groups across the country are uniquely positioned to help unemployed older workers, including those in the long-term category. Take Roddy, a 52-year-old product manager who lost his job when his company relocated.

After a six-month search yielded zero job offers, Roddy decided to join the Ridgewood, N.J., chapter of Neighbors-helping-Neighbors, a volunteer-run network of job clubs across the state. Networking through the club provided critical job leads, and the club’s support system helped Roddy stay positive and motivated throughout his search process. These elements, Roddy says, were missing from his solo job search, and ultimately they are what helped him land a new job in his field.

Ben Seigel at Neighbors-Helping-Neighbors anniversary event

Ben Seigel speaks at a Neighbors-helping-Neighbors event in New Jersey on Jan. 25, 2013.

Last month, I was honored to speak at Neighbors-helping-Neighbors’ two-year anniversary celebration. To date, NhN has helped more than 230 people land jobs, most of whom were unemployed for 6 months or more and over the age of 50.  

This is why the department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been reaching out to groups like NhN for the past several years, connecting them to the public workforce system and other partners, and helping new clubs get started. We’re seeing a huge payoff, and even major media outlets are taking note. USA Today recently ran a cover story on NhN and its founder, John Fugazzie, as well as our efforts to provide support.

What’s even more exciting is how these groups are innovating and finding new ways to connect people with jobs. For example, Crossroads Career Network, a national network of more than 90 congregation-based employment ministries, launched a new Web tool last month that can be used by job clubs, employers and job seekers. Job seekers can search by ZIP code for local job listings, as well as find career tips and upcoming workshops. Employers can search for quality candidates, and job clubs and other groups can learn more about how to help those who are searching for work.

And later this month, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina will officially launch an innovative program called the Professional Center. The center will specialize in working with professionals, including older workers, who are now experiencing long-term unemployment for the first time in their careers. With a focus on networking skills, social media training and image consulting, the center’s services will be offered in person as well as through video recordings and webinars.

With these efforts and many more like them in hundreds of communities across the country, we are looking forward to the number of long-term unemployed people declining even more dramatically in 2013.                                                                                       

To connect with the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership’s Job Clubs initiative visit  

Ben Seigel is the deputy director of the Labor Department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

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Comments (11)

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  1. William Joel says:

    Ben – Nice write up, especially coverage of the NhN efforts. Glad to see we’re not alone in NJ. Please keep up the good work.

  2. Neighbors-helping-Neighbors USA web site is

  3. SOCH EEWCDS says:

    Thank you great article.

  4. Brian Ray says:

    Ben, Great article. Jobs clubs and American Job Centers make great partners! Cross-referring jobseekers. Promoting each others events and services. Collaborating on job fairs and career workshops. What are other ways we can all partner?

  5. hi Ben;

    very good and detailed article, thank you very much.

  6. Wanda Mc Dougal says:

    I am a 55 year old single mom who has graduated with all three degrees and am looking for full time employment in a hospital or clinic. I am interested in all job clubs to help me proceed to my goals to be a full time employee. I know that a lot of jobs dicriminate against me due to my age. Please connected me to all of the resources that I can get to help us. Thank you.

  7. Wanda Mc Dougal says:

    I am willing to take classes at MWE and to go to my University at the career center to get all of the help I need. I can share resources with others as well.

  8. donald says:

    Ben, was there any feedback related to the proposal to raise the unemployment rate on the outlook for job seekers over the age of 55? What do you see as the potential long term impact if this passes on helping or hurting the employment sector. Thanks, appreciate your thoughts.

  9. kenneth says:

    i am in retraining at community college and i am interested to find how faith based employment can help me get work. i am unemployed for many years i will send more on another day.

  10. Lots of work to do and lots of good people involved in helping others. Thanks for sharing Ben.

  11. Thanks for finally talking about >Connecting Older Workers,
    Long-Term Unemployed With Jobs <Liked it!

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