MAM Leads Older Worker Collaborative

MAM's Employment Services program is taking the lead in a collaborative with several other Houston area agencies to identify best practices for the older job seeker.  Other agencies involved are Care for Elders, Chinese Community Center, The WorkFaith Connection and United Way of Greater Houston.

"We have clients in their 40s -- some in their early 40s -- who identify their age as an obstacle to finding work," said Yolanda Bing, MAM's Manager of Employment Services.  "Of course, as clients reach their 50s and 60s, the concerns get greater.  We don't try to identify a number that constitutes 'older', but rather if our clients are concerned about the issue, we want to give them some special advice on the subject."

The idea for the collaborative came when MAM's Director of Employment Services, Bob King, searched for an established "curriculum" to use as a basis for assisting these job seekers, but failed to find anything comprehensive on the subject.  He offered to lead the effort and other agencies facing similar client concerns jumped in.

"We will try to come up with some practical suggestions," said King.  "A few things are clear, though.  It all starts with being relentlessly positive, as with any job search, and making sure to emphasize with prospective employers the benefits of your accumulated experience and wisdom.  Then, you must understand how to deflect some of the negative stereotypes of older job seekers.  Most employers are not biased against older candidates per se, but rather accept stereotypes of older workers such as 'computer illiterate', 'unable to handle change', or ' don't possess enough energy'.  These are all predispositions that, as an applicant, you can dispel.  But you have to do it."

Material that is developed for the collaborative will be shared among the agencies, and MAM intends to post recommendations on this site.

For clients who are interested in pursuing the subject, schedule an appointment with Yolanda, Bob, or any Volunteer Job Coach.