A new Older Kansans Employment Program Job Club is forming in Pratt to assist older citizens who want to get back into the work force.
What to do after retirement is something everyone faces sooner or later. More and more retirees are finding out they want and need to go back to work because it makes them feel better, said Tom Harrison, employment specialist for Prairie Independent Living Resource Center.
For those 55 and older who have retired, many more are discovering they want to continue working.
“There’s more of us who want to continue working and may not be fulfilled by volunteer work,” Harrison said. “Some of us have retired or have been retired and after a little time we have realized that we desire, in fact, we need to be employed.”
But finding employment after retirement can be a challenge. To help those wanting to re-enter the workforce, Harrison is organizing an Older Kansan’s Employment Program Job Club. The club is sponsored by PILR.
At the meeting, discussion topics will include job leads, application process and help, communication and interviewing skills, conflict resolution, stress management techniques, time management hints, a question and answer session plus time to share personal experiences.
The first meeting is set for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Pratt Senior Citizens Center at 619 North Main in the game room. Future meetings will be scheduled but Job Club usually meets twice a month and meetings last about an hour to an hour and a half.
Harrison, who is 71, moved back to Pratt after he retired as pastor of the Eden Valley Church of the Brethren in St. John several years ago and decided that he would do part time work, which he did. But after a while, he discovered he needed more employment to give him the opportunity to use his talents, Harrison said.
When he started searching for work, he figured his years of experience and maturity would work in his favor. But he found that even when contacting former employers, he was looked at differently and his age and maturity were a detriment to getting a job.
So he changed his approach. No longer was it good enough to fill out an application form, he had to sell himself to a future employer that he was a good fit for their business.
Another discovery was that most employers want and require a resume. So he has learned to build a resume that can be modified for whatever job he is seeking, Harrison said.
An important part of Job Club is offering support for one another. They need to know that they are not alone in their efforts to stay active and productive.
Since he started working for PILR, Harrison experiences positive benefits from going to work every day.
“I found that I loved coming home from work to enjoy the things I wanted to do at home,” Harrison said. “Better then just hanging around the house, relaxing. It’s nice to have a place to go and I feel I’ve accomplished something.”
For more information about Job Club, contact Harrison at PILR at 620- 672-9600, extension 335.
Counties covered by PILR are Pratt, Reno, Kingman, Harper and Rice.