> During the 2009 economic recession, many people in
midlife felt that their lives were being dismantled. The
AARP Foundation provided the tools they needed: job-
search assistance, hands-on training and scholarships
for promising women. Together we worked to rebuild the
Job and Career Help
More than 32,500 mature job-seekers turned to
our online WorkSearch program to assess their
skills, get tips on resume-writing and interviews
and find job listings. In a new twist, we offered
one-on-one coaching for the first time on a pilot
basis—an idea that met with great enthusiasm.
One client was 61-year-old Elias Fernandez,
who was laid off in February from his job as a
computer programmer and database developer.
His optimism about leveraging his two decades
of experience to find a new job soon faded.
Fernandez feared the poor economy and his age
were working against him.
Fortunately, a friend told him about WorkSearch.
He logged on to the website and requested a
new service—personal help from a volunteer.
Soon after, he received a call from Patricia Kemp,
a retiree with extensive experience in defense-related logistics and information technology.
Kemp called Fernandez every week to discuss
his job search and tap into her knowledge. By
phone, they practiced interview techniques,
which Fernandez began using at local job fairs.
After assessing the job market, Kemp suggested
he consider a career change. One option was
combining his computer expertise, bilingual skills
and passion for teaching into communications-technology marketing.
Kemp pushes all her clients to believe in
themselves and to think more creatively
about what they can do: “People often don’t
recognize that there’s much more to them than
they think—more talent, more power, more
putting Skills to Work Patricia Kemp assisted
a number of people with their job searches by
volunteering with our WorkSearch program. She
coached clients by phone from the AARP National
Office in Washington, D.C.
experience—and they don’t know how to go
down deep inside themselves and find it.”
“My thinking about the jobs
I can do and how to find
one has changed so much,
and it’s all because of Pat
Kemp and the WorkSearch
program,” Fernandez said.