BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)–An increasing number of people 55 and over are making their way back into the workforce. But the steps to landing that first job might require a bit of training.

In today’s workforce, older workers are becoming more valuable to employers. While age discrimination sometimes occurs, the benefits of having an older worker can take away that narrative.

Site Administrator for Blair and Bedford County PA CareerLink Gwen Fisher said that older workers are more dependable and have more experience because of their skills acquired in the past.

“I think older workers offer a really great work ethic,” Fisher said. “They have often been in the workforce for a long time. They understand what employers want, are usually reliable, they develop good communication skills. All of that is something you have to teach someone, so it’s a really great value to the labor market.”

Associates for Training and Development (A4TD) is a non-profit that offers workforce development and training projects aimed for mature workers. It provides them with the opportunity to update their skills and reenter the workforce.

Linda Lord is a case management participant assistant at A4TD, and she helps mature individuals every day. She notes that some of the best strategies perspective workers can do is to highlight their skills to the job they’re looking to apply.

“As an older individual, sell your skills,” Lord said. “Try not to look at your age. A lot of people think they aren’t hiring older individuals, but older individuals are more dependable, and they don’t have the phone stuck in their face the whole time.”

Lord believes that a worker is deemed worthy by the skills they can offer to the position. That means removing any education that shows when you graduate or experience from the past that’s not relevant.

Since the ways of employers are evolving with things and moving towards technology, Lord is suggesting perspective workers learn computer skills. Having basic computer skills will provide an easier transition and more accessible contact between employers.

“I think the biggest thing is getting computer skills and learning how to work your phone, get a smartphone, and get an email,” Lord said. “A lot of people coming into the program don’t have emails. Employers are going to contact you by email.”

One program the A4DP offers is the Senior Community Service Employment Program. A federally funded job training program provides occupational skills training with local non-profits.

Chris Brosier is involved with the program and works beside Lord. He felt that he found a new light once he joined the program and developed skills he never thought he could learn at his old job.

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“Take a chance on something like this. It’s wonderful,” Brosier said. “It has done for me something that I could not do for myself. It’s wonderful for anyone that wants a new chance at life.”