'Who wouldn't want an older worker?'
But when you need a job, it's a different story, especially when you have been out of the workforce for eight years.
Jacqueline King is a part-time program specialist at the Rock County Job Center, 1900 Center Ave., Janesville. She got the job through the Wisconsin Senior Employment program, a federally funded employment training program for those 55 and older.
Administered by the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, the program pays people 55 and older to work part time or to get their high school equivalency degrees.
King, 55, heard about Wisconsin Senior Employment through a friend. King first wanted was to brush up on her computer skills, which she did at the job center and at the Rock County Opportunity Industrial Center, 1872 Porter Ave., Beloit.
King saw a problem at the opportunity center. People were coming in to use the computers.
And that was it.
"People forget you're there if you don't have something going on," King said about the waning popularity of the center.
So she created that "something," and she beams at her desk in a cubicle at the job center when she talks about it.
King, a Beloit native, started a computer class for kids at the opportunity center. The class helps kids with fine motor, keyboarding and spelling skills, she said. And it brought some new spark to the center.
Work—whether the volunteer kind or the "for-pay" kind— is not new to King. She's been a frequent volunteer in Beloit and on various projects for former Gov. Tommy Thompson and former Rep. Les Aspin. She worked in the advertising department at the Beloit Daily News and wrote a series on black history for the paper.
But when her husband, former Beloit City Council member Charles King, died, she found work was suddenly a necessity. At least if she wanted spending money.
"I hadn't been in the workforce for over eight years," King said. "When I got back, there wasn't a lot of work out there for me.
"I never thought it would be a problem. Who wouldn't want an older worker?"
After she got the computer program up and running, King moved to a desk at the job center where she works on various programs, including the Info Lunch program, a networking luncheon for Rock County business people. And she plans to start taking a close look at the county's Wisconsin Senior Employment program to make sure participants are matched with the best non-profits for their abilities.
She hopes her work will prove that a new position is needed at the job center.
"I'm pretty creative," King said. "If I want a job, I make one."
Last updated: 10:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012