Job help for baby boomers

Canada’s baby boomer population, as the largest population demographic in history, is facing a crisis.

Canada’s baby boomer population, as the largest population demographic in history, is facing a crisis.

As the population ages and life’s expenses continue to increase, many people are having to return to the workforce because their pensions cannot support them.

According to the Canadian government, in 2009 Canada’s workforce consisted of 726,000 people over the age of 55. By 2019 that number will have jumped to one million.

The Ponoka & District Employment Centre is offering a 10-week program to help those in need ease themselves back into Alberta’s workforce.

The free program begins April 15 at Ponoka’s Employment Centre. “There is not a cost but we require commitment,” said program facilitator Lyn Lamers. Those who register for the program are expected to attend every Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the 10 weeks.

The skills that will be taught, re-taught or upgraded include résumé and cover letter writing, interview skills, job search skills, positive thinking and goal setting.

The program also includes attending job fairs, guest speakers and a three-day career planning workshop.

“I think it’s very important for anyone that’s been out for any particular reason. One feels less behind,” said Lamers.

The program is also useful for those looking to change jobs or are new to the area.

Older workers re-entering the workforce are going to encounter many challenges. “One challenge is prejudice, assuming someone who’s older can’t cut it,” said Lamers.

They’ll also have to overcome the challenge of working with someone half their age or having a boss the same age as their children.

“We make sure our people are up to date and ready for anything,” said Lamers.

In the past, looking at older workers’ resumés, Lamers has been astounded by their vast knowledge and array of marketable skills and job experience.

She says many forget what they have to offer due to lack of confidence and “being turned down by someone who didn’t know better.”

Even though the program is free, eligible applicants can still receive funding to attend. “Ten weeks not at a job is pretty costly,” Lamers explained. However there are a limited number of seats for the program and Lamers urges people to apply quickly.

Another program will be held in Lacombe the second week of July and that’s where the spill-over will be directed.

Those wanting more information about the program or wanting to apply can contact Andrea Morgan at 403-786-0044.