Jobless during the pandemic: What struggles women are facing

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Unemployment during the pandemic has affected millions of Americans, but some age groups are hit harder than others.

The older and out of work employee is, the longer that individual is likely to remain unemployed. Older women are particularly hard hit.

Restaurants, retail and hospitality: three industries hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Many of the workers who held jobs in those industries are women.

“For women 55 and older, their unemployment rate has more than doubled since February pre-pandemic so that’s, you know, devastating,” AARP VP of Financial Resilience Susan Weinstock said.

Not only devastating for the here and now, but also for what are supposed to be the golden years when older women retire. So what does an unemployed woman in this demographic do? One option is a job change.

“This is a great time to think about up re-skilling or up-skilling,” Weinstock said.

“We do have funding in some cases to help individuals who have lost a job if they want to get training for a new career,” PA Careerlink Luzerne County administrator Christine Jensen said.

That tuition assistance at PA Careerlink is up to $10,000 for qualifying individuals seeking employment in a high priority occupation. But the help doesn’t stop there.

“We have the ability to help you if you need to set up a new email account, if you want us to look at your resume and make sure that it does look updated and has all of the right information on it,” Jensen said.

PA Careerlink even offers free training to make you seem like a pro for an online interview with a prospective employer.

“You need to practice that. You don’t want to go cold to your first interview you’ve had in 20 years and now it’s on Zoom and you’re not quite sure what you look like, how you are going to be perceived and that’s all important,” Jensen said.

PA Careerlink isn’t the only organization offering free workshops and other help. AARP has an online career expo scheduled later this month.

“We’re going to have employers participating. We’re also going to have webinars on age-proofing your resume, building that LinkedIn profile. Lots and lots of different topics,” Weinstock said.

Encouragement for older women looking to rejoin the ranks of the work force.

You don’t need to be an AARP member to participate in the online career expo scheduled for Thursday afternoon, January 28th.

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