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Over 55 and Under-Employed? Try an Executive Reboot

PHOTO: The Department of Public Policy in the Library Building at UCONN's Greater Hartford Campus houses the Encore! Hartford program. Out-of-work corporate executives in Fairfield County and around the state have a shot at re-launching their careers in the nonprofit sector. Photo credit: UCONN.
PHOTO: The Department of Public Policy in the Library Building at UCONN's Greater Hartford Campus houses the Encore! Hartford program. Out-of-work corporate executives in Fairfield County and around the state have a shot at re-launching their careers in the nonprofit sector. Photo credit: UCONN.
January 6, 2014

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - The newest figures on unemployment among people 55 and older are improving, but it still takes almost a year on average for seasoned business veterans suddenly "on the street" to get back into the corporate suite.

The Encore! Hartford program trains executives and finds fellowships so they can transition from the corporate world into positions at nonprofit organizations. AARP Connecticut is helping provide partial financial assistance for five candidates from Fairfield County. According to the group's director, Nora Duncan, execs in their 50s are often open to the shift.

"A lot of people see this as an opportunity to change course and, in their next job, to not only be able to make a living but to give back to society," she said.

Applications are being taken until Jan. 17. AARP also is working to find suitable fellowship positions with nonprofit organizations in Fairfield County.

Duncan said the unemployment rate in November for the over-55 work force across the country was 4.9 percent, down sharply from 5.4 percent in October.

"That's great. That's great news," she declared. "But 1.6 million people age 55 and older were unemployed in November, and that statistic alone is why AARP wants to focus on helping older workers get back to work."

Duncan said that, overall, older workers are faring better in the job market than younger ones - until their circumstances take a turn for the worse.

"It takes a lot longer to get back to work than their younger counterparts, nearly double the amount of time on occasion," she said. "We find that those who are age 55 and up take nearly a year to get back to full-time work."

Encore! Hartford - in its fourth term - said 87 percent of participants found employment with three out of four landing in the nonprofit sector.



Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - CT