Older workers trying to re-enter workforce getting help from city program

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 28 at 1:47 PM

SEATTLE - Instead of enjoying their golden years, some retirees are trying to return to work. It's not easy in a crowded job market, but there are older job seekers who feel like they have no choice.

"We have a lot of clients who thought they'd be very comfortable after 55 plus, who in turn are worried about paying their rent six months from now," said Joan Uzelak, job counselor at Seattle's 55+ Employment Resource Center.

Jacqueline Nash retired a year ago, at the age of 65. Since then Nash has found Social Security helps pay for living expenses but not much else. 

"I need additional income in order to live a better quality life," said Nash.

Nash hopes to find a job with a non-profit organization. She is receiving help from Uzelak at Seattle's 55+ Employment Resource Center. Free workshops on topics like resume writing and computer skills are available once a month. Nash is getting use to networking on sites like Facebook and filling out resumes online.

"I had resistance to be perfectly honest because there was fear around it. I had been looking online. A lot of the jobs I felt I did not have the skill base for," said Nash.

Nash plans to upgrade her skills with help from the city program.

A former client of the 55+ Employment Resource Center is Kevon Wick. 

"When I did some phone interviews, everything was going great. I showed up for an interview, and as soon as they looked at me, they suddenly changed the tone of the interview. They started to ask questions, and even said we are actually changing this job description a little bit," said Wick.

Wick said he faced age discrimination in the beginning. He was out of work for nearly two years. He found out about the city program, and said it led to a connection with the YWCA. Today he is employed by the YWCA as a Title V Employment Specialist.

Registered clients of the 55+ Employment Resource Center receive weekly lists of available jobs. To learn more, go to the City of Seattle's Age 55+ Employment Resource Center webpage.

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