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It can be done: Re-entering the workforce at any age

Posted by Goodwill Staff on May 17, 2021

Jerry - ThumbnailThis May, during Older Americans Month we recognize the contributions older Americans make in our lives.

All workers deserve the opportunity to thrive. Goodwill helps older Americans through paid training, upskilling, ongoing support and assistance finding jobs that provide livable wages. Many older Americans have found meaningful work at our store and donation centers and in other areas of our business.

Jerry - Square When Jerry made the decision to come out of retirement and look for part-time work, he connected with Goodwill. He accepted a role at the Goodwill Store & Donation Center in Northbrook, Illinois with plans to work for a few years and now, nine years later he is still enjoying his job as a production associate.

Jerry shared that working with younger generations keeps him young and that he loves the diversity he experiences at work every day. “At Goodwill, people from many diverse backgrounds come together. We form a team and enjoy the success of working and getting things done, and we have fun too!”

Learn more about Jerry’s story.


With the employment outlook bright in many areas, workers both young and old are preparing to reenter the workforce. We’re sharing six things to consider if you’re looking for a new opportunity:

Know Which Jobs Are Opening Up – Many fields are exploding, with new positions available now, including frontline ecommerce workers, healthcare supporting staff, custodial and maintenance staff, digital marketing professionals, medical staff, and retail workers.

Know Your Worth – Whatever your age, consider the strengths, interests, and experiences that can help you stand out. Through the successes, failures, joys, and difficulties they navigate, older Americans’ stories and contributions make us all better. At a time when employers need to build resilience, older workers can play a critical role.

Get the Skills and Training You Need – Connect with Goodwill to identify training that will support your growth and development. Employers are seeking qualified candidates who have communication and problem-solving skills. There are also digital skills training programs that may be a good fit.

Strengthen Your Network – Review your network of contacts and let them know what type of work you are seeking. Make sure you have your cover letter and résumé ready for when one of the contacts in your network tells you about an open position. Don’t hesitate: many employers are looking for the right attitude and soft skills, like teamwork and problem-solving. They don’t always need a credential to make a hire. Make sure your network includes our Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers which offer training, support, and ongoing leads for jobs in our area.

Search in Multiple Places – Investigate local opportunities through radio, television, newspaper, and online job sites. Use Indeed and other online job boards to narrow down your search or target certain regions in your city or town.

Do the Little Things – Is the mailbox for your voicemail full? Do you know what is most important to you as you think about your next role? Why should an employer choose you vs. others who have applied? Getting ready for the interview and other communication activities that are sure to come will help you feel confident.

Did Jerry’s story inspire you? Learn about current job opportunities with Goodwill.

Written by Goodwill Staff

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440