Older adults struggling to find work in Piedmont Triad

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

Nancy Simpson’s cover letter reads in part “Could someone please give me a chance to work? I am not dead yet.”

Nancy Simpson, 61, and her husband, 62-year-old retired Rev. Dr. Mike Simpson, have been looking for someone to give them a chance.

Mike Simpson was in the ministry for 35 years. His wife served as the church administrator while also holding other positions.

However, lately, transitioning into a new career has been a challenge for both.

Mike Simpson currently has three part-time jobs.

Nancy Simpson currently works a part-time job that provides about 10 to 12 hours a week.

“It's very frustrating just for a lot of reasons. After a while you feel like nobody really wants you because you don't get any call backs,” Nancy Simpson said.

“I have never applied for anything I didn't have the proper credentials for and as my wife indicated, you just don't hear back,” Mike Simpson added.

He believes that many of their roadblocks are a form of ageism.

Many of the unemployed or under-employed in the Piedmont who are 50 and older say even when the job market is supposedly doing better, they are still having a hard time getting solid employment.

It’s a frustration that 76-year-old Terry McGuinness can relate to.

She retired from the medical field in 2007.

“I'd still be working full-time if I knew it was going to be so hard,” she said

She wanted to get back into the workforce, but doors were closed.

“It got very depressing after a while,” she said.

With the help of the Urban League, McGuinness was able to get a receptionist position at The  Shepherd’s Center in Winston-Salem where she has been for eight years.

Kim Bell, 52, has been working to transition out of owning a home care nursing business.

“When I look for jobs there are not very many jobs first of all and they seem not age appropriate for me,” Bell said.

Bell has been working with Circles Winston-Salem, a poverty initiative under The Shalom Project.

The program requires a long-term commitment to help participants out of poverty.

“85 percent to 90 percent of those who have been in Circles are female and currently I have more who are 50 and older than those who are 30 and under,” Carol Wilson, Circles coach, said.

The program provides allies to help with participant goals -- including employment.

“It becomes a matter of not just getting a job but you want a career,” Wilson said.

Many people 50 and older hope society will realize they still have a lot to offer.

“I do have something to offer and I'm certainly willing to learn new things just because you're a little bit older doesn't mean your brain shuts down,” Nancy Simpson said.

Must-See Stories

More Must-See Stories


Follow FOX8 on Twitter