AARP Foundation is offering a Back to Work program to unemployed workers over the age of 50.


Staff Report

MIAMI – If you’re 50 or older and would like to go back to work, Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Center has just the program to help you.

An academic outreach center of MDC’s North Campus is offering the AARP Foundation’s Back to Work 50+ program, which provides free job search support, career coaching and employer connection services to unemployed workers over the age of 50.

Free information sessions will be held Monday, Sept. 11, at the Meek Center and Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the North Campus.

The 7 Smart Strategies Information Session outlines seven key strategies the Foundation discovered are essential to success in today’s competitive job market, from updating a resume to targeting job search and networking.

One of the program’s objectives is to assist employers in filling vacant jobs with employees who are capable, skilled and dependable. While open to all, the program specifically targets unemployed women over 50, who according to the AARP Foundation, are the demographic having the most difficulty gaining employment in the post-recession economy.

“We need to keep in mind that the people we target for this program have solid work histories often having spent 10, 20 or 30 years with a single employer and can offer employers the skills, loyalty and commitment that helps companies grow,” said H. Leigh Toney, executive director of the Meek Center. “Today’s job market is very different, you need a polished, updated resume and a cover letter, not to mention most jobs require at least an intermediate level of digital literacy – all of which the Back to Work 50+ program provides for its participants.”

Participants accepted into the program participate in a two-week Back to Work 50+ boot camp that provides one-on-one and small group job coaching and workforcerelated training.

After the boot camp, they continue receiving ongoing job coaching, job search support and access to available jobs in the South Florida market.

The program has been successful in getting participants employed in various industries, including higher education, insurance and logistics. In addition, they receive tuition support to enroll in short-term job training in selected fields – information technology, health, hospitality, business and logistics – that are in demand in South Florida.

Coaches work closely with participants to not only help them improve their marketing tools but also provide important confidence building support that motivates them to succeed.

“Anyone who’s been unemployed finds themselves in a challenging situation,” said Alfonso Miranda, Back to Work 50+ Grant Director and a former SCSEP participant, another AARP program that supports older workers. “Once they join our program, they gain confidence, they become a part of a supportive community, and they get one-on-one support to help them meet their goal, which is to get employed and continue to be productive citizens.”