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By Joyce Lain Kennedy
Tribune Media Services
Reprinted with Permission
Golden years? Try golden fears. A widow in my late 50s, I have been eking out a frugal living making and selling craft projects. I must get back to work doing something that pays better to cover retirement bills and get health insurance. I don't know where to turn. I could start with a book to get the lay of the land. Help? – P.J.S.
Workers age 50 to 65 almost need a search warrant to find decent coverage because pre-existing medical conditions shut out the majority of applicants in that age group. And even when you qualify, the cost is the size of your food budget. So good luck in finding an employer that offers health care benefits.
Here are get-back-to-work tips featuring a new book and a new twist on traditional job clubs.
"America's Top Jobs for People Re-entering the Workforce," about $20, by Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds cuts to the chase. It's published by Impact Publications (impactpublications.com).
The authors have done the heavy lifting of sifting through the Department of Labor's venerable Occupational Outlook Handbook to paraphrase briefs of the kinds of work that may be most receptive to re-entry people.
Examples of the 85 occupations they classify in the re-entry category include medical assistants, security guards, correctional officers, bill collectors, record clerks, advertising sales agents, public relations specialists, carpenters, home appliance repairers, welding workers and truck drivers.
A bevy of free or low-cost job-search support groups have sprung up in places of worship across the land.
Churches have long provided meeting rooms for job clubs but the recent growth of faith-based services may signal the beginning of a movement that impacts the way career help is delivered.
How many places of worship have launched formal programs to help job seekers? Bill Broderick, a partner with the Chicago-based Work Ministry (workministry.com), estimates there are between 1,500 and 2,000 such groups in operation today in U.S. churches, temples and mosques.
The Work Ministry is a private firm that counts, tracks, connects and advises faith-based job support groups. Launched late last year, the Work Ministry maintains on its site a national directory of faith-based groups offering job and career management. Already it lists 65 groups in 15 states. Both unemployed and employed job seekers are included in the faith-based databases.
Although the groups noted by the Work Ministry have religious foundations, all are ecumenical in membership. Anyone of any faith – or a nonbeliever – is welcome to join these job-search support groups.
Most such groups are still funded by passing the hat but those with staffs and career center facilities – perhaps a couple of hundred – get financial help from federal grants. (See the Department of Labor's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, www.dol.gov/cfbci).
How do the Work Ministry-recognized job-search support groups function? Think of an old idea grown sophisticated with the changing times.
A job-search support group is a name for a contemporary version of what traditionally has been called a "job club."
The common link between job club members is the need for mutual encouragement and technical search techniques to find a job. People who have lost jobs need cheerleaders and friends to help them stay upbeat as they learn the mechanics of finding employment. See quintcareers.com/job_club.html for a fuller description of the basic features of traditional job clubs.
The functioning of groups doing community outreach that are registered with the Work Ministry can be described as "job club meets networking club meets job board." Membership for job seekers in these groups is either free or very modestly priced.
Work Ministry’s Bill Broderick tells me that while his firm advises faith-based groups on how to get federal grants, the firm itself does not receive federal money. The firm’s income is generated by employer fees for jobs posted on its Web site.
In addition to faith-based groups, free or low-cost workshops and seminars for job seekers nationwide are posted on the executive site CareerJournal.com (careerjournal.com, scroll down to Career Events, click on Calendar of Career Events). Many events are hosted by well established secular sponsors, such as Forty Plus and state employment service networking groups.
My own Web site – sunfeatures.com – archives columns that may be of additional interest in solving your re-entry challenge.
E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at email@example.com; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.
©2005 Tribune Media Services, Inc.