Pratt's new Job Club gets started with speaker Tom Harrison reminding participants they have valuable skills and characteristics needed in today's job pools.

Finding meaningful employment was on the minds of eight Pratt area senior citizens Tuesday afternoon as they gathered in the game room at the Pratt Senior Citizens Center. The met for the first meeting of the Pratt Job Club conducted by Tom Harrison, employment specialist for Prairie Independent Living Resource Center, Inc., who said the program is funded through the Older Kansans Employment Program.
“Being this age, in this position, I’m finding there are a lot of us that want to work,” said Harrison, 71.
As seniors seek to re-enter the job market, Harrison said, many are running into rejections.
“It’s not as easy to find a job as it used to be,” he said. “We’ve got to change hearts and minds.”
One thing in favor of workers in the 55-plus age bracket is the work ethics they characterize, Harrison said. Older workers are know for showing up on time, taking pride in doing a job well and having a passion for what they do.
Building relationships through networking is another avenue for seniors seeking work to explore, Harrison said.
Harrison encouraged at the Job Club meeting to have a resume ready because it helps them review what they have done and what the skills they have to offer in the current job market.
Resources available to older job seekers were also discussed, including The Hope Center at 314 South Main which has a job board with job listings and also assists job-seekers of all ages in preparing resumes.
Harrison spoke encouraging words when he told the group of a supermarket in another county he works with who is seeking senior workers for day shift positions.
“They want the seniors to model for younger workers how to be a good employee,” Harrison said.
During discussion, Harrison asked the group, “How often do you get up when you face rejection?”
“One more time than you’re knocked down, is what my Dad always told me,” was the response by one of the participants.
Harrison outlined future topics to be discussed, including job leads, application process and help, communication and interview skills, conflict resolution, stress management techniques and time management hints. Each session will also be open to questions and answers.
The next meeting of 55-plus job seekers will be January 24 at 2 p.m., again in the game room of the Pratt Senior Center. Anyone age 55 or older interested in employment is encouraged to attend, Harrison said.