According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 142 million people were employed in the U.S. in 2012, with just over 30 million being aged 55 or older. The U.S. Census listed the total population of the Sacramento region in 2010 as more than 466 million, with 10.6 percent aged 65 and over.
The U.S. Census also projects that by the year 2040, 21 percent of the country’s population will be at least 65. More baby boomers reach the 55+ age group each year, with many choosing to stay in the workforce longer due to concerns over long-term finances and health care.
Tracy Alexander is the project director for the nonprofit AARP Foundation’s local Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) office, and is focused on helping older Sacramento residents find and keep jobs. The program, funded by grants from the Department of Labor (DOL), offers job training and placement assistance for persons aged 55 and older. To be income eligible, they must be at or below the poverty line for the prior 12 months.
Are you seeing an increase in job placements for seniors in your Sacramento program?
Alexander says that DOL guidelines require her office to place 40 percent of an authorized number of participants in order to maintain grant funding. “In 2011 we just made it to 40 percent,” but in 2012, they met and exceeded that goal to 41 percent.
To what do you attribute the growth of jobs for seniors in Sacramento?
“The economy is opening up,” says Alexander. “The housing market is better, spending trends are better.” As local employers see those improvements, they are more willing to take the risk of adding to the payroll. “While employers may not be running to it,” Alexander says, “they are at least tip-toeing to the door to let more people in.”
What types of jobs are Sacramento seniors getting?
Alexander reports that local employers like Macy’s and Best Buy like the experience and work ethic seniors bring to retail, and AlliedBarton brings them on for security positions. Jobs in clerical and food service are also more open to the 55+ set.
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.