AARP holds a job fair for the 'un-retired'

Senior worker filling out forms

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: Can you believe close to a third of Americans in their late '60s are still working? And the government says the number of 55-and-up workers will soon rise at more than five times the rate of the overall work force. The AARP's annual convention in Washington this week reflects that trend with a job fair for those who won't -- or can't -- stop working. Here's Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Penny McCrimmon is all decked out in a mustard yellow suit. She's a former Maryland state worker in her mid 50s. But she's back in the job market.

Penny McCrimmon: The economy is in the dumps. I'm a real estate investor so my income is in the garbage.

McCrimmon always thought, at this age, she'd be living the good life in some warm place. Not lining up at Home Depot and Staples booths at a job fair. But she and other seniors need to cope with the tough economy. And as the supply of young workers for service jobs dries up, companies figure aging boomers might help.

At the CVS booth, Ernie Dupont hands out pill cases on key chains. He says in the last dozen years, the company's worked hard to triple the percentage of CVS workers over 50.

Ernie Dupont: You know, one of the things that's been very successful for us is our snowbird program, whereby we have people that work maybe in the northeast during certain times of the year, and then travel down to the south.

The next aisle over, retirementjobs.com offers an internet cafe for job seekers.

Bob Skladany: I'm Bob the job guy -- yeah, that's exactly right.

Bob Skladany runs the booth. He's helping seniors looking to replicate the jobs they once held. Most are having no luck. They're applying for high-paid jobs at companies that don't need to offer snow bird programs. That makes Skladany's advice all the more important. Like if you're being interviewed by someone half your age ...

Skladany: Obviously, don't make any comments like, "Well, you could be younger than my son."

Skladany says, if you're asked your age, answer the question straight up and move on. He's become a beloved figure online.

Skladany: Well, I've received nine marriage proposals. It's true. Nine.

But then Skladany gets serious. He starts talking about depressed seniors. People like former state worker Penny McCrimmon who's heading to yet another recruiter's booth. She's been looking for a good paying job for four years with no luck.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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