AARP, Jeff State help older workers train for jobs

Workers 50 and older brush up on their job skills during a Jan. 22 class at Jefferson State Community College off Valleydale Road in Hoover. (Contributed)

Workers 50 and older brush up on their job skills during a Jan. 22 class at Jefferson State Community College off Valleydale Road in Hoover. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Older workers in Shelby County updated their skills and received job training at Jefferson State’s Shelby-Hoover Campus on Jan. 22 under a program offered by the AARP Foundation and Jefferson State.

The Back to Work 50-plus program is designed to help unemployed men and women over the age of 50 update their job-search skills and, in some cases, get short-term job training. At Jefferson State, eligible participants may receive tuition assistance to enroll in training programs that would prepare them to work as dialysis technicians, in medical coding or in office management.

“These sessions are designed to provide information about many resources the college, in partnership with AARP Foundation, has available to those over 50 years of age,” said Tamara Payne, director of career and Job Resources for Jefferson State. “These resources include a coaching program that can help those over 50 update their networking skills, give detailed information about the local job market and help them to access short-term job training.”

“These sessions also helped the participants develop computer skills training, assisted them with cover letters and interviewing techniques, and helped them to use technology to advance their job search,” Kay Potter, Jefferson State’s director of community and corporate education said.

AARP Foundation launched its Back to Work 50-plus initiative in Denver in 2013 and expanded it this year to Alabama and a number of other states. The foundation cited more than 3 million people 50 and older across the country are searching for full-time work.

In Alabama, only half of residents between the ages of 55 and 64 are employed, and a number of them are not unemployed by choice, according to AARP Alabama.

“Thanks to AARP Foundation and Jefferson State, many have had an opportunity to brush up on their job-search skills or even get help to train for a new line of work,” said Candace Williams, interim state director of AARP Alabama. “We encourage those over the age of 50 to come to these sessions and take advantage of these opportunities.”