Giving senior adults another chance at job success

111614 EDU Seniors

550 words


By Hunter Lacey

Atlanta Tech partners with AARP to give senior adults another chance at job success

Seniors not ready to retire are finding new opportunities to learn about career paths, update their resumes and interview for jobs through Atlanta Technical College’s ATC’s Back to Work 50+ program, a partnership with the AARP Foundation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2016, one-third of the total U.S. workforce will be age 50 or older.

“I think it’s important to give our 50-plus workers an opportunity to receive coaching in today’s job techniques,” said Deborah Johnson-Blake, director of continuing education at ATC. “Most of our seniors have been working for years and years on a job, but then they get laid off, and they don’t have the skill to get entry-level jobs.”

ATC’s Back to Work 50+ program, touted as the only program of its kind in Georgia that specifically caters to seniors, offers seven career-coaching opportunities, job training and placement services, including job fairs and on-campus recruitment.

“Anything we find out about job openings or career fairs, we disperse that information to our job candidates,” Johnson-Blake said. “We call them job candidates because it really helps them develop the mindset that they will be entering the job field very quickly.”

The Graduate

Lisa Harris graduated in summer 2014 from ATC’s Back to Work 50+ program. , Harris, who has an associate’s degree in procurement, quickly went from job seeker to job holder.

Q: Where are you now employed?

A: I’ll be doing payroll and safety-related tasks for YRC Freight in Marietta. I can see YRC is a place where I can progress and move up, and I’m sure I can get that done.

Q: Do you think the Back to Work 50+ program helped you get this job?

A: The interview process was pretty easy after all of this training. And of course my Microsoft Office skills will come in handy with Excel, so it was just awesome to get that training here.

Q: What was something you that led you to this program?

A: I had been out of the workplace for a few years, and I was ready to go back, but as I began looking for work, one thing I noticed was that employers were looking for PC proficiency.

Q: What did you learn through the program?

A: I had not done cover letters and resumes in a while, so I needed a push in the right direction. I learned how to grab the attention of an employer in the cover letter and how to tailor a resume for a career. I learned how to a 30-second elevator speech, which I had never even heard of. You learn how to sell yourself.

Q: Do you have any advice for seniors considering doing the Back to Work 50+ program?

A: I would recommend that you definitely come to the information sessions and see what you need help with, regardless of why you’ve been out of work. This will help you get in the mindset.


About the ATC’s Back to Work 50+ Program

• AARP provides a $1,800 stipend per student for program fees.

• Students need to have a GED to qualify.

• Info sessions are held on Atlanta Technical College’s campus on the first Monday of each month.

• For info, call 404-225-4487 or email

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