This is supposed to be a project of the American Association of Retired Persons AND the the U.S.Department of Labor AND ANYONE ELSE THEY APPARENTLY CAN CON MONEY OUT OF.
Their alleged purpose is to help people over 50 years old find work.
Well,they didn't help ME and they didn't help anyone else I know, at least in Austin,Texas. And I sent several people over there who really needed work and what they got instead was the run around ,just like I did.
I KNOW because I am over 50!
There is notorious AGE DISCRIMINATION in Austin,Texas which seems to pride itself on being an equal opportunity town where everyone's Civil Rights are honored and discrimination does NOT happen -- unless you are a woman over 45 looking for work or a man over 50 and you happen to be Hispanic or white or African American,in which case, unless you are a medical or legal professional with a six figure salary or over and you can be in business for yourself, FORGET TRYING TO FIND A JOB HERE! That is when you learn how vicious this "loving,generous town" can be. And there can also is a vicious reverse DISCRIMINATION from persons who are supposed to dispense the legendary charitable largess that this town is supposed to be famous for too.
This city that shuts down its streets for such yuppie events as Running Marathons usually on Sunday mornings so people can't get to Church services and people can't get to their restaurants or merchants to their places of business if they fall on one of these routes for bikers or runners, OLD PEOPLE ARE NOT WANTED HERE UNLESS THEY ARE RICH OR FAMOUS...of course, that seems to apply to ANYONE who wants to live here. Not too many older folks can run these marathons although many are greatly inconvenienced by them and the same for the many alcohol-sodden festivals ranging from motorcycle rallies to various rock music festivals to all sort of festivals. In fact, Forbes recently named Austin,Texas " America's Drunkest City."
There are too many people here, too few jobs being generated and life is cheap. The idea is why get an experienced person who can do the job right when you can get a younger person with no workplace experience for less and let them work for about two years and replace them with another one as there seems to be no limit to the workers who come here. The wages are generally lower than elsewhere in the state, for the country, actually, because there seems to be a consensus that the worker actually be paying the employer for the privilege for working in this people's paradise! Ripoffs of employees are not unheard of and every so often a temp agency will take the payroll and run leaving locked doors, rip-off workers and lots of debts and unanswered questions!
Which is why there is such a need for an organization to keep older people from having their identities ripped off on the internet with the new rise in fraudulent employment schemes and an organization that will be an advocate for the older people and put them in touch with REAL employers with REAL jobs so they will be able to pay their property taxes and buy gasoline and groceries and NOT be homeless.
THERE IS A GREAT NEED FOR AN ORGANIZATION TO HELP OLDER PEOPLE.
I got trapped here when I could not longer afford gasoline to commute from a nearby city. OR I WOULD LEAVE!
Instead of getting benefits from the government, I tried to get a JOB here.
I don't know whatever happened to getting a job here by interviewing with an employer the old-fashioned way -- probably because there are so many people who believe the propaganda and WANT to live here ( making this Texas' most expensive city to live in regarding prices and general and the lack of affordable housing in specific), employers here are now requiring people to SUBMIT THEIR RESUMES BY E-MAIL ONLY.
This presumably keeps older persons from applying since they either can't afford a computer an/or do not know how to use one. And it presumably keeps low income people and minority people who are victims of the "digital divide" here from applying for work as well. The city libraries have computers that you can use for a limit of two hours a day but it will take longer than that to apply for jobs. The Texas Worksource centers also have computers the public can use for two hours a day limit. But it going to take longer than THAT to find work here. I know older laid off computer people who lost their jobs in the 2001- 2002 e-economy tech meltdown and are STILL looking for fulltime jobs in their field.
The Texas Worksource acknowledges that older people have trouble finding work here and so they REFER YOU as DO MOST SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES TO THIS AARP FOUNDATION!
I attempted to call AARP Washington, DC about the problems in the Austin, Texas office and I talked to an older guy who didn't seem very interested in what these people were doing. He gave me the number for the Texas AARP office and when I called and wanted to know about their Work Search program, they gave me the same number of the place that REFUSED to help me.
MONEY FOR THIS PLACE COMES FROM THE U.S. BOARD OF LABOR and who knows what other organizations are paying money to these people thinking that older Americans who want a job and no discrimination will not be homeless or eating dog food because they will have work if they want it.
Well, here is what REALLY goes on.
I went in on a Friday last week seeking help. I definitely met the low-income requirements. The surly HISPANIC man behind the desk was very rude and it was the 80 plus year old Anglo lady who helped me. I was referred by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services and AS SOON as they told me about the AARP Foundation, I went there. It is located where an old food stamp office used to be years ago at 55 North I-H 35 ( North bound lane) in Suite 200.
I noticed that there were about three, maybe four, rather uncomfortable folding chairs in their reception area. I admire then for not squandering subsidy money on elaborate furnishings but it's rather hard for someone with osteoarthritis to get in and out of these folding chairs... It is obvious they were not expecting to deal with large numbers of social service clients. Well, where was all that money going?
IT IS MY IDEA TO WORK FOR A LIVING NOT TAKE THE HANDOUTS! I had a lot to offer a non-profit agency which is where I was told I would probably be working.
As I was entering, I saw an African American lady who appeared to be a caseworker making a referral to an older white gentleman to report to what sounded like a non-profit social service agency and I felt relieved and happy, thinking if they could held HIM find a job, or at least an interview, that they would be able to help me too.
I thought wrong.
The intake seemed friendly enough. There was hardly anyone in the office when I signed in. There weren't too many names of the sign-in sheet and when I signed in, the sullen, surly older Hispanic gentleman behind the glass acted like he wanted to throw me out right then and there.
The lady who waited on me was a Native American from Ohio and she seemed to be the only person there who cared. She gave me applications and a card with the web site and my passwords. The paperwork I filled out was an interest inventory of what jobs I would be best suited for. As it turned out, most of those jobs are technologically OBSOLETE.
There are a series of job aptitude tests that you have to take. The Microsoft Word 2003 was there except I am already using Word 2007 and the two programs while similar are actually worlds apart in their capabilities. So I wondered about that.
If you don't do well on the online tests, you have the option to retake them and you can also take supplementary classes in these topics -- most for a FEE! The FEE looks reasonable enough to people who can afford a $49 online course but to someone like me with little or NO money, I saw at least a week's worth of groceries gone! I wasn't sure who certified these courses, except that they apparently would count towards showing employers that you could actually do the skills. Since most Austin employers seemed skeptical about hiring older people with advanced college degrees, an online exam score is going to make them more likely to hire senior citizens?
I then received a card with a website, a User Name and a Password on it whicih will probably revoked since I did not show up for my most recent appointment which was supposed to have been today. I didn't think I could stand another exercise in futility. THAT constitutes my job search.
When I went to the job search portion of the website it appeared to be the SAME websites from which I had applied for about 100 jobs WITHOUT success and it just looked like MORE OF THE SAME! From a cautious optimism to total depression in 10 seconds or less...( Because so many job sites are fakes that pharm you out to identity theft sites, I only end a cautiously worded letter of interest which lets an employer know that you are interested, lists highlights and accomplishments of your career and asks them if they want to see a resume. That way NO identity is stolen.
The only reply I got was an Auto response which stated that I was one of 200 applicants for the job and they thanked me for my interest. That was it and that was over a month ago.
THAT is how bad the Austin job market is and this is BEFORE news of the impending nationwide economic collapse.
They then sent me in to see a lady who is the placement person who puts seniors and employers together. I think she gave me the once-over and decided I was unemployable or there was something else she didn't like. She told me to come back that Monday at 11 a.m. and bring my paperwork that was on the sheet I was given. I did show her my voter registration to prove that I was a US citizen and thus elgible to work in this country. I thought that she made a copy of it. Apparently she didn't because THEY DIDN'T EVEN START A FILE ON ME --rather odd for a social service agency?
After an interesting weekend in which some friends gave me a TEMPORARY place to stay, I was feeling rather positive about the experience that I might be getting a job where the people knew how old I was and age would not matter.
Comes Monday, I was there on time and the older Hispanic man demanded to know why I was there and who I was there to see. I told him that the employment counselor had told me to be there. NO ONE THERE HAD A CLUE. I still had all of the papers that they had given me so I don't think that a file had been made of me --if there is not a paper file then maybe I DO NOT EXIST IN THE SYSTEM!
It also seemed rather odd to me that someone would set up an appointment for someone and not leave word with the receptionists...UNLESS THEY DID NOT EXPECT YOU TO COME BACK...which eventually happened, like, today.
SO I SAT and I SAT and I SAT.. and FINALLY I got to see somebody.
I saw a Hispanic guy I THINK was a caseworker but he was not the same employment counselor I saw Friday. I think she was AVOIDING me. He wanted to know if I had a CRIMINAL HISTORY! I have NO convictions and aren't they supposed to check on that once you come in through the door on the first day so they know who they are working with?
HE WANTED THE PEOPLE WHERE I STAY TO WRITE A NOTE SAYING THAT I WAS INDEED STAYING THERE. He then explained that it was required by the government before I could be funded.
WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH ME GETTING A JOB? I AM A US CITIZEN!
I ALSO WAS NOT TOLD THAT THIS ALLEGED JOB SERVICE WAS ONLY LIMITED TO TRAVIS COUNTY RESIDENTS which I was one by default now because I could not afford the gasoline to go home. MY FRIENDS WERE NOT APPLYING FOR THE WORK SEARCH PROGRAM -- I WAS! WHAT DID THEY HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING AND NO THEY WOULD NOT WRITE ANY LETTER BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT THEIR PRIVACY INVADED! WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT NEED TO KNOW THIS?
What if they were undocumented workers?
He then wants to know if I am wanted by "the law"? HOW STUPID IS THIS!
He then says that I just need to get on Social Security and that is the end of this interview .. and by the way, I can come back Wednesday at 11 a.m. and he writes my name on the white board with the kind of green pen with the inlk that gives you headaches when you write with it. I didn't see very many names up there on the board which makes me wonder WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?
I think I remarked that I would need some help writing a resume because I didn't want to write one where my identity could be stolen. Also I didn't think a resume would do much good anyway at this point since employers were allegedly getting hundreds of them.
(What happens when the employer finds that the person on the other end of the resume looks older or more handicapped or more "ethnic" or "Racial" than they thought because people don't always talk on the phone or their computer literacy is not always the age of the IDEAL EMPLOYEE the employer thinks they want? That is assuming your resume is NOT lost amongst the hundreds of others the employer is getting.......)
On my way out of the door, a small publication supposedly from AARP about "How to Write a Resume" was shoved at me which I kept.
I was supposed to have been back at this AARP Foundation Worksource center today but after what happened to me Friday, I am NOT going back unless this weird situation is resolved!
I had several friends I referred there but they told me that they heard bad things about the place and don't want to go.
The JOB I would have been offered would have been at MINIMUM WAGE for 20-26 hours MAX, no benefits that I knew about and I would have been paid to go attend job fairs, which, if you have ever been to one, at least in Austin,Texas is just a chance for a company to do some PR, scout some prospective employees and not necessarily hire them on the spot... I have never heard of any older worker finding work at one. That is the only information I found about the AARP Foundation employment --at least in Austin,Texas. I am not sure if it would have been at a non-proft or not which would have been fine with me.
I AM WONDERING WHO FUNDS THIS PROGRAM AND IF THE AGENCIES KNOW OR CARE WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
I know some of it is being funded by AARP members and some is coming from the US Department of Labor. I think that the Veterans Administration might help fund some as well.
BE CAREFUL IF YOU APPLY TO THIS PROGRAM!
At least, the one in Austin,Texas.
Anonymous Senior Citizen