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Troubleshooters: Older resident having trouble finding work

READ MORE: Troubleshooters: Older resident having trouble finding work
Harvey Jackson is 70. Despite his good health and willingness to take almost any job he could find, he says employers can't seem to look past his age. Jackson is frustrated. He's literally applied for dozens of jobs, everything from a landscaper for the county, to a stock man for Wal-Mart, but he has yet to get hired. "It's aggravating more than anything else. I know I can do the work, I want a chance," said Jackson. Jackson fears his age is the problem. While many of his peers are retired, Harvey says he loves to work. "Work to anybody, is what you should do. If you try to sit home, you ain't going to last long. I ain't going to sit in there, I'm going to be out here doing something," said Jackson. And he's not just looking for something to do, Harvey needs the money. His only source of income is an $1100 Social Security check each month, and he says it just isn't enough to pay for his truck, his groceries and his other household bills. Jackson said, "I'm down to one dollar and I've got to figure out some way to sell something or get a hold of some money, and I'd rather work for my money. I don't want no giveaways I want to work." In case you're wondering, Harvey has no criminal record, and a clean driving record. Despite decades of experience as a truck driver, and another stint as a construction foreman, his resume is getting him nowhere. We showed his resume to Walker Biggs, who manages the local Employment Security Commission office. "With our economy and unemployment rate being relatively low here in New Hanover County, we have a lot of employers that really, with someone with good experience, and I've had them tell me, they say I don't care what their age is, if they can do the job, then I want them here to do the job," said Biggs. Biggs said despite many employers willingness to hire elderly job candidates, Harvey may want to focus his search on jobs that don't involve manual labor, driving, or operating heavy equipment. And, regardless of his ability, employers may pick younger candidates for those jobs. "Some companies, it may come into an insurance thing, I know that they can't hire 18-year-olds to be drivers in some companies because of their insurance regulations and that may drive what some of these companies are doing, but they need to be upfront and say our insurance won't let us hire you. That would be better to tell somebody, than I can't hire you," said Biggs. Harvey said he's more interested in finding a job than filing a lawsuit, but if you're in a similar situation, there are laws on the books against age discrimination. That being said, proving that an employer didn't hire you because of your age is difficult. If you suspect you've been discriminated against for any reason, experts recommend filing a complaint with the New Hanover Human Relations Commissions. They can investigate, and research hiring patterns at the company which may validate discrimination complaints and result in corrective action. Meanwhile, if you're an employer with a job for Harvey, we'd love to hear from you. "There is a definite plus to hiring some of your older workers. You know, they've got history, some of them have a long work history, they have experiences that other people don't have," said Biggs.

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No Jobs for old ladies

I agree that this is age discrimination. I want to ask prospective employers how many of their young personnel are like to spend more than one to three years anymore. The training coupled with their personal life often gives only about a 40 percent return on the training. However I have found older people who still work offer a consistent 100 percent. Give us a chance.

Older Resident Can't Find Work?

It's age discrimination, simply put. There are laws for that. But companies would find some other reason to discriminate, so why work for them. I agree that the educational system would be a good alternative to WalMart greeter. I'm approaching retirement and I want to continue to work as well. The pool of baby boomers will be frothing with talent unmatched by young workers. Life experience outweighs untried knowledge. Give us older folks the opportunity and you might be surprised. Some of us have what's call "work ethics".


Simply put this is unfair. I would think most employers would appreciate Jackson, but might fear extra costs involved with an older worker. So part time status might eliminate this problem.

older workers

i was laid off when my company closed here in Wilmington. At 58 years of age, it took me four years to find a full time job. during that time, i worked temp jobs continuously. alot of companies will hire you on permanantly if you start out as a temp and do a good job. i work with two ladies that are going to be made permanant soon and they came in from a temp agency. it is tough being an older person looking for work because there is a tendency in this town to hire the younger worker, not to mention the competition for jobs. he should go to several of the temp agencies around town if he already hasen't done so and put in that resume. many companies hire from the temp agencies and do not hire directly.

give this man a chance

First right of the bat he as a will to work. that is key right there. Yes he is going to be limited on what he can and can't do. and his retirement money will limit him on how much he can make. What about our schools don't we need some one to help with the kids. Teach them some old school mannors. This guy has a lot to offer kids and other people. it is simple a will to want to work and move...