Dan Ackermann of Motley lost his job in a cabinet shop years ago and started his own business in 2004.
The business wasn't successful and Ackermann was unemployed. He didn't have much luck in finding a job. Then in 2007, he turned 55 and qualified for Experience Works' Senior Community Services Employment program.
The employment program was able to place Ackermann into part-time work to help him pay the bills. Ackermann works 20 hours a week at the Living Legacy Gardens in Staples. Ackermann helps with the gardens and builds benches, arbors and chairs. In the past, he also has worked at the Staples-Motley High School cafeteria cooking and serving meals.
It's been two years and Ackermann is still looking for work.
Dan Ackermann of Motley recently worked on Experience Works' laptop computer to do job training at the Lutheran Social Services building in the East Brainerd Mall. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I can't find a job that is right for me," Ackermann said earlier this month while in an Experience Works' job seeking skill session held at the office of Lutheran Social Services in the East Brainerd Mall. "I'm looking for jobs everyday. My skills are in woodworking and cooking, but I can't do any high stress cooking job like a line cook because I wouldn't be able to keep up. I need more of a prep cook job."
Ackermann said he has learned a lot through the classes, including what to do and what not to do on a job interview. Ackermann also has been doing as much networking as he can, inquiring everyone about a job opportunity.
Ackermann said the past few months the job market has been tough and each day more and more people are out there looking for a job, like Diane Killian, 59.
Killian, who also is in the Experience Works program, moved to Brainerd in March for a fresh start. Killian wanted to become more independent, active in the community and she needed to find a better job than what she had in her former small town of Hines.
Ann Majerus, 85, Merrifield, talked while she sorted through files at her part-time job this month at the Crow Wing County Social Services building. Majerus landed the job though the Experience Works program. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Killian said she moved to Brainerd because of the Experience Works program, she was able to find affordable housing and she qualified for food stamps. The younger senior is taking job training classes and is working part-time at New Pathways as an assistant to the program manager.
"They helped me so much," Killian said of the work program. "I've never applied for a job in my life. I was clueless on how to write a resume. Things have changed so much in the work force."
Seniors like Ackermann and Killian are not the only participants who benefit from the employment program. Older seniors, like Ann Majerus, who is 85, is not doing the job skill training sessions, but is working part time in the Crow Wing County Social Services and the public health departments. Majerus helps with filing and does "stuff no one else wants to do," she said with a laugh.
Majerus, who lives in Merrifield, said she retired from what is now called TCBX 10 years ago. But now, she said, "I lost it (retirement). I got too old," and now she needs some spending cash.
Diane Killian of Brainerd talked with a client on the telephone recently at her part-time job at New Pathways. Killian, 59, obtained the job though the Experience Works program. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Majerus also volunteers, but said the extra money she receives through Experience Works helps pay the bills. Majerus said she wishes she would've never retired when she met her retirement benefits years ago, but she couldn't predict what the future held.
Just like no one today can predict when the economy will turn around.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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