By Michele Collins, Contributing Writer
REGION – The job search for people 55 and over doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems, thanks to new programs by organizations like AARP and Encore Boston Network. There are even opportunities to be ready for the numerous positions that are being offered to remote workers of any age.
Those in the Greater Boston area can sign up for a free program that makes them remote-ready to work and offers tips on how to find and secure those positions. A recent Age-Friendly Employer Forum, sponsored by AARP and retirementjobs.com , gave step-by-step directions on how to update your skills, and crack the job market, even if you are over age 55.
Developed by Operation ABLE, in association with Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the MassHire Department of Career Services, and UMass-Boston, a unique new program is designed specifically to enable economically disadvantaged job seekers over the age of 55 to succeed in a remote work setting.
Those who are interested in learning to be successful as remote workers can sign up for the next Remote Employment Skills Training class, which begins on December 20. This class teaches everything from basic computer skills to how to set up your remote work station at home. To see if you are eligible, or to sign up for the class, visit https://operationable.net/.
According to Operation ABLE, the program is led by an instructor in a virtual classroom. Participants can choose their choice of fields of study like customer service, accounting or office work, all which have remote jobs available today. Not having access to Wi-Fi or the technology needed to be a remote worker is not a barrier, as Operation ABLE even has a technology loaner program for those who meet income requirements.
Another national program that offers help to older job seekers is Tech Goes Home. This program allows older and mature adults and seniors to attend computer classes where participants receive a free Chromebook, a bag to carry it in, six months to a year of free internet service and a mouse. All this is provided free for seniors by Tech Goes Home. Visit www.techgoeshome.org for more information.
Not interested in working remotely? Not a problem. AARP has developed a program which lets older job seekers find companies that actually value highly experienced employees, and those over 55. Called the AARP Employer Pledge, these companies have agreed to sign on as Age Friendly Employers. These companies are committing to “believing in equal opportunity for all workers; recognizing the value of experienced workers; recruiting across diverse age groups and considering all applicants on an equal basis, regardless of age and finally, believing that 50-plus workers should have a level playing field in their ability to compete and obtain jobs.”
One way to find jobs close by is to visit www.aarp.com/jobs. This site allows users to filter by limits such as distance from a city or a field they are interested in. For example, a search of jobs within 20 miles of Worcester in only employers with the Age Friendly designation, revealed 786 jobs. These jobs include companies as varied as TJX, Macy’s, several insurance carriers, Home Depot and Advance Auto Parts. Some jobs are part time, some remote and some full time professional. There is even an opportunity to work seasonally as a Santa Claus, no beard needed!
The job market right now is very open to all people interested in working. Why not do what you can to find and choose a job that meets your preferences?