Enhancing Economic Opportunities Program for Older Unemployed Workers Project

Older unemployed workers often found themselves alone and unsupported in their search for their next job.

Ontario Trillium Foundation provided OSSCO© with a regional grant for a 3-year period to support the efforts of unemployed workers 50- 70 years of age and teach them Job Search Strategies and how to incorporate networking as part of their employment toolkit specific to this age demographic using Peer Facilitators.

OSSCO© implemented these programs which it developed specifically for unemployed people 50+ including newcomers and immigrants. By partnering with 5 regional partners – COSTI (Brampton), Times Change Women, JobStart, YMCA Whitby and Markham locations – OSSCO© provided access to more than 1900 people to this project. Older people who experienced OSSCO©’s integrated educational 2-part program had a toolkit for the best opportunities to find employment, with 20% reporting they found employment on their own.

Although the 2 programs started as in-person learning at partner sites, due to COVID-19, these programs were redeveloped to support virtual, remote learning.

Job Search Strategies showed people where to find job prospects. Learners discovered how to respond to a job market that had changed for 50+.

Employment Networking Group (ENG) taught learners a new way of networking by net giving. Both programs were delivered by Peer Facilitators, had guest speakers and included one-on-one follow-up.

Employment Networking Group (ENG) Program

Employment Networking Group (ENG) consisted of 4-weeks to reconnect learners to those important social and business networks which were lost due to unemployment.

They practiced networking skills, perfected “elevator speeches”, shared personal or job goals and strategized to overcome challenges. They gained valuable meeting management skills including volunteer leadership and how to effectively sustain a community-based ENG.

Topics in ENG classed included: “How do you organize your job search?”, or “What has worked to get connected to a hiring manager?” or “What barriers do we need to overcome?”

Guest speakers talked on different aspects of networking in job search strategies. Each ENG class strengthened and expanded the learners’ employment and social network.

Job Search Strategies

Using lectures, discussion and interactive activities, learners explored the following educational concepts to develop their own personalized job search strategies:

  • Net giving, a networking alternative
  • Know yourself, know your brand
  • Speaking the recruiter language.
  • Who reads my resume?
  • Finding your job niche
  • Tackling the barriers of ageism
  • Considering a career transition
  • And more!

This program gave learners new opportunities to contribute through class exercises. It helped transform how the job search process was approached. After class assignments gave a practical roadmap for the learners to find they wanted now and what the right job fit was for them.

This project was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. https://www.ossco.org/what-older-long-term-unemployed-adults-need-to-enhance-economic-opportunities