Terre Haute's AARP institution is taking steps to help out its senior citizen clientele during these turbulent economic times.
AARP is seeing an increase in its "Senior Community Service Employment Program," which is set up to find entry level jobs for unemployed people 55 years and older. The program is funded by the Department of Labor.
Jobs generally given in the program include work in the reception, clerical, custodial and retail industries. Floyd Kirby, project director of the Senior Community Services Employment Program, says he and his coworkers are willing to do "anything we can to help (elderly) people get a job."
Kirby also stressed the jobs given are only meant to be temporary and the program will help their clients continue to try and find work in their desired fields.
The program received a major boost recently, receiving additional funding as part of a new Stimulus Program. Kirby called the increased funding "very crucial," and said he expects to see an increase in his program, which currently has 60 clients. The Terre Haute office works with seniors in Vigo, Clay, Greene, Knox and Daviees counties.
Kirby said once someone enters the program, it generally takes about seven months for them to be placed with a job. He said it can be hard for people who have worked their entire lives to adjust to such a strenuous wait, but it was crucial they display the patience needed in a vapid economic climate.
One concern Kirby discussed about seniors on the job market was age discrimination. He said it wasn't always blatant, but there were frequently employers who were reluctant to work with seniors.
"Everyone wants to be a mentor," Kirby said. "If you are 30-years-old, you want someone you can bring up with you. You don't want to work with someone who reminds you of your dad."
Kirby said he considered the increased stimulus money a gift and he hoped more people would take advantage of the provided services.
"It's difficult to find a job under any circumstance," Kirby said. "For the (seniors) unemployed (increased funding) is very crucial. People need to do everything they can."
For more information, contact the Terre Haute AARP at (812) 232-2345, or stop by their office, located at 2901 Ohio Blvd. Ste. 252. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Those inquiring must be at least 55 years of age and unemployed.