Feb 22, 2013

Gray & Jobless: 55+ have highest long-term unemployment for 4.7 million people #Jobs #News

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.

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.

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