Older workers looking for Maryland job openings, as well as openings in some other states, will soon get some help.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently gave $10 million to organizations that connect older workers with jobs. The money is meant to retrain workers who are 55 and older for jobs in high-growth industries, such as healthcare or green-collar jobs.
The funds were broken up into 10 grants worth about $1 million each and given to organizations in Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. On top of that, the Atlantic Philanthropies will invest another $3.6 million toward the effort.
According to an article by U.S. News & World Report, the grants will target older workers who have been laid off and are looking to be reemployed, who need to stay in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age, or who face barriers to finding a new job because of such things as disability or low level of English proficiency.
The Baltimore County Office of Workforce Development received a $967,005 grant to move lower skilled older workers into the healthcare industry and retain experienced technical and professional workers after retirement age.
The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County in Washington will use its $1 million to retrain older workers with disabilities, limited English proficiency and ex-offenders for jobs in healthcare, information technology and green-collar jobs.
“Older Americans are an important part of the workforce, and their skills and experience are of tremendous value to our nation,” Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in the article. “With expanded education and training opportunities, such as those made possible through this grant, older workers can broaden their own career opportunities and further contribute to the growth of industries across the United States.”
During June, those 55-years and older had an unemployment rate of 7 percent, which is lower than the overall 9.5 percent unemployment rate. However, older workers often have a harder time finding new jobs than younger workers. The average length of unemployment for those 55 and older during June was 29.9 weeks, while younger workers were only out of work for 21.4 weeks. During June, about 38 percent of older workers had been job hunting for 27 weeks or more.