SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Two-thirds of all people who live to age 65 are alive today. Do they know Microsoft PowerPoint? Maybe not, but they probably should, because lots of them are still working – and will be, for a long time to come.

Americans are living longer than ever before, and have to work longer, too. And it’s anything but easy for many of them.

“I am 61 and I’ve been laid off of two jobs and didn’t expect that to happen at this point and time in my life, “a woman named Cindy admitted. “Living on savings and money that I’ve kind of put aside and I had to cash in one of my retirement funds.”

She has been looking for a job in human resources, but has struggled through the interview process.

“We hear from people all the time how humiliating it is to go into interviews with people who could be the same age as their grandchildren,” acknowledged Abby Snay, Executive Director of JVS Vocational Services.

“We have seen a doubling in the numbers of people over 50 seeking our help,” she added.

“Many potential employers prefer a very young person,” acknowledged a man named Steven, who spent a lifetime in sales and has been trying for two years to land a job in the nonprofit sector. “They can pay them less.”

Unfortunately, the statistics don’t offer much reason for hope for somebody like Steven.

“The longer somebody’s out of work,” warned Snay, “the less likely it is, especially for an older person, that he or she is going to find jobs.”

JVS has begun offering computer classes specifically for people who have been out of work for a long time – helping them to learn new skills, and sometimes renewed optimism, in what has become a very challenging time.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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