Troubles finding jobs for the 55 and older group - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Troubles finding jobs for the 55 and older group

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- It is another wrinkle in our country's unemployment. A large number of people looking for work are 55 and older.

It is hard to say if they are being looked over because of their age, but if you ask mature workers, that is the only rationale they can come up with. After decades of experience as they try to look for work, the answers they get are "you have a great resume, but no thanks."

For six months 60 year old Evan Meacham has been looking for work. He has a college degree and decades of experience, but says door are not opening up for him the way they used to.

Meacham is a former navy sailor and has worked in the nuclear and engineering industries. He says he is getting interviews but employers are telling him his qualifications do not match up.

Meacham says, "It's almost like a buzz word. You've got a lot of experience but you're old."

Todd Dixon with Columbia Basin Worksource says "[There's an attitude that] nobody will hire [me] because I'm old and we tell them you have to get that out of your repertoire right now because you're not selling yourself."

Leaders at Worksource say of the nearly three thousand people who are unemployed in Benton and Franklin Counties, and almost 20% are over the age of 55.

Worksource say those applicants get frustrated because they don't want to branch out of their field, but there is no data that they are being targeted because of their age.

Dixon says, "I haven't seen any trends that they're being fired off more; they have to sell themselves different than folks coming right out of school and they have to know how to sell that and how to sell that quickly."

One of the biggest obstacles unemployed mature workers face is the technology gap younger workers know already. As for Evan Meacham, he says he'll still look for work here, but may have to move to find another job.