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If You’re Over 50 and Unemployed, Don’t Miss This Site


If you find yourself among the ranks of older job hunters, one of the most valuable resources to emerge from the Great Recession is also among the most poignant: a website called Over 50 and Out of Work.

Started by Susan M. Sipprelle, a writer, journalist and photographer, the website documents the stories of the nation’s unemployed through 100 video interviews. Each is a compelling and wrenching portrait of older Americans grappling with the loss of jobs, identities and hope.

The mission of the project, which is privately funded, is to help individuals age 50-plus “get back into the labor force by improving the cultural perception of older workers and by influencing public policy changes that will make it easier for them to find re-employment.”

The website, though, offers much beyond personal stories. It also contains a number of invaluable interviews with experts in aging and employment – including academics, attorneys, economists, authors and elected officials, among others – which can help individuals with their job search.

Some examples:

— Laurie McCann, a senior litigation attorney at AARP, the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, addresses age discrimination, how to file a charge of age discrimination and offers tips for older job hunters.

— David Mathison, a media consultant and author of “Be the Media,” discusses how older adults seeking a job can take advantage of social media.

— David DeLong, a research fellow at MIT’s AgeLab and author of “Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce,” explains, in a 32-minute video, how individuals can “maximize the success of their job search.”

— Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, talks about the negative perceptions that employers often have about older workers and how job hunters can overcome such stereotypes.

— David Bank and Marci Alboher, both vice presidents at Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on expanding the contributions of older Americans, discuss Civic Ventures’ efforts and offer advice about networking and volunteering for job seekers.

Up next for the website’s team: producing a documentary that focuses on the 100 stories featured online.


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About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.