PHOTOS BY GLENN TRIEST
45 and older,
looking for work
STEVE STEIN STAFF WRITER
Linda Butler (right) represented Arbor
Drugs at the job fair.
Lauretta DeWells of Kroger (left)
answers a question.
l or those who haven't
searched for employment in
the past 10, 20 or 30 years, the
world is a strange new place.
Finding a job isn't as easy as
F i t was in the past.
That's why organizations like
Operation Able sponsor an annual "Abil-
ity Is Ageless" job fair for persons ages 45
and older. It's one of the reasons why the
Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) offers
classes that help people search for and
"The economy and the 'system' have
changed," said Judy Richmond, a job-
placement specialist for the Southfield-
based JVS. "The competition for jobs is
tougher and the process is lengthier. It
may take several interviews to get a job.
"In the past, someone could answer an
ad in the newspaper for a job and get it on
the spot. Now, an ad can attract thousands
of resumes. Many people in the 45-and-
older age group have never had a resume,
but now it's essential to have one."
In a nutshell, Ms. Richmond said,
searching for a job in 1995 means being
active, not passive. Cold-calling, net-
working and support groups are impor-
tant strategies in addition to putting
together a good resume and developing ef-
fective interviewing skills.
For the 45-and-older set, searching for
a job may also mean having convincing
answers for employers who express con-
cern about an applicant's age.
"Some employers worry about the sta-
mina of older workers, but they need to be
reminded about the skills, experience and
loyalty older workers bring to a job," said
Sally Brown, case manager for Operation
Able, a Southfield-based nonprofit em-
ployment and training organization for
persons ages 45 and older and employers
in southeast Michigan.
Corporate downsizing, displaced home-
makers and those who find they don't like
or can't afford retirement are sending more
persons in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even
their 70s into the job market.
And the numbers probably won't de-
cline. The Population Reference Bureau,
a private research group, announced re-
cently that nearly 34 million Americans
— one in eight — have reached or passed
their 65th birthday.
By the middle of the 21st century, about
one in five Americans, or 80 million peo-
ple, will be 65 or older, the bureau noted.
Approximately 2,000 job-seekers and
more than 70 employers attended the
fourth annual "Ability Is Ageless" job fair
last month at the Plaza Hotel in South-
field. It's the only job fair of its type held
in Michigan and has been recognized na-
Outside the hotel on a rainy, dreary day,
the parking lot was filled to capacity. In-
side, men and women wearing their best
business-like attire handed out resume
after resume to prospective employers,
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