Half of the battle for seniors seeking employment is convincing potential employers that a mature age is not a drawback. The other half of the battle is convincing the seniors themselves that age doesn't matter.
Both issues will be addressed at the first Employment Fair for Mature Workers on Oct. 17 at Technology Development Center in Ventura. The fair will be the culmination of a six-week series sponsored by the Senior Employment Business Advisory Council to help seniors shift careers, find temporary employment or return to the work force.
"Because of changes in medicine and in views on aging, we have people working much longer than they ever thought they would," said Ventura Community Services Supervisor Marcia Ortiz, an organizer of the employment fair. "Seniors are an overlooked group that have so, so many skills and can be of such benefit to the business community if they gave them a chance."
Representatives from temporary agencies, home health care agencies and other employment groups are expected to participate in the job fair.
The employment council's seminar series debuted in March, offering programs on age discrimination, resume writing, employment services, Social Security earning limits, skills training and other issues affecting men and women 50 and older who are looking for work.
"We have a huge amount of retirees in Ventura County, and one of the problems they are facing is that one-quarter to one-half of them are not able to sustain themselves on Social Security alone," Ortiz said.
"On the other hand, we have people who have been quite successful and don't feel they want to quit work," she said. "The Senior Advisory Council was developed to serve both of those groups and to combat age discrimination. We find people coming to us who feel like they are getting discriminated against because of their age."
The advisory council has run two series of workshops, each attended by about 150 seniors. The next group of workshops is scheduled to begin in mid-March. "We have developed the workshops so they can go to different sites--senior centers and other places seniors visit," Ortiz said. "We hope to do the next one in Oxnard and then one in Simi Valley."
The employment fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 5200 Valentine Road. For more information, call 654-7745.