Are you a senior who wants to start a business, or who is retired and wants to find a job?
Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have state agencies devoted to helping "mature" workers find employment.
In addition, last month AARP Foundation awarded the Women's Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) in Philadelphia money for a new initiative: Work for Yourself@50+, which aims to assist low- and moderate-income women and men in becoming self-employed.
If you think you're too old to start your own business, statistics prove otherwise. About 26 percent of all recent start-ups were formed by people between the ages of 55 and 65. That's up from 15 percent in 1996.
"Self-employment is a great opportunity for 50-plus [people] who have retired, lost their job, or who want to scale back their work," said Lynne Cutler, WORC president.
Since 1993, WORC has taught about 5,000 people how to start and run businesses.
Take Mae Dooley's company, Dooley's Landscaping in Germantown, which grew out of her desire to provide employment for herself and her son, who had been incarcerated previously. WORC originated a $4,000 loan for her company to purchase a professional lawn mower. Today, the business has grown to 10 employees.
AARP Foundation's Work for Yourself@50+ is designed specifically for seniors, such as Dooley, 66, to gain the resources they need in their bids for self-employment. "It's important to give people who've been incarcerated a chance to have jobs in the community," she added.
WORC's 90-minute workshops connect participants with local resources to help them reach their goals. Workshops will be offered Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, and are free and open to the public.
To learn more about WORC and its microloans, which range from $1,000 to $35,000, call 215-564-5500 or visit www.worc-pa.com.
To register for Work for Yourself@50+ workshops, call 1-888-339-5617 or visit aarpfoundation.org/workforyourself.
Pennsylvania CareerLink aims to help job-seekers of all ages find work.
A decade ago, "most people coming in here were in their 50s and 60s. Now, they're in their 70s, and I even had a woman come in last week who was 80," said Judy Cherry, coordinator for CareerLink's 55+Plus program, funded via Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and administered by JEVS Human Services.
"The majority are women," Cherry said. "When a spouse dies, half the income disappears. Women maybe didn't work as long and their Social Security check isn't as healthy as it could have been."
Philadelphia-area seniors can check out workshops such as "Silver Lining: Job Search Tips for the Mature Worker," sponsored by PA CareerLink Delaware County in Media on Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon.
You must set up a profile online to attend any CareerLink workshops. To register and enroll, visit jobgateway.pa.gov.
Jobs in Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Labor administers the WorkForce 55+ program, a community service and work-based program providing subsidized training for low-income people 55 and up.
More information is available on the department's new job-hunting website, CareerConnections.nj.gov.
The site offers an easy-to-follow plan it has dubbed "The Path to Employment," an organized framework of insights and actionable guidance to empower seniors to find and maintain careers. For more hands-on, in-person assistance, job seekers are encouraged to visit counselors at Career Connections locations.
In addition to the 29 One-Stop Career Centers, you can now access career-navigation and job-search assistance at 18 local libraries in New Jersey.
Pa. CareerLink Offices for Senior Jobs
1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
3901 Market St.
4261 N. Fifth St.
5847 Germantown Ave.
Delaware County Chester City
701 Crosby St. Suite B
Delaware County at Media
901 Media Line Rd.
1855 New Hope St.
Bucks County at Bristol
1260 Veterans Hwy.