|Roger Forrester , Mature Worker Connection|
|Visit Mature Worker Connection's website|
Mature Worker Connection
As founder of the Mature Worker Connection (MWC) in Tucson, Roger Forrester put his years of human resources experience to work for people over 50. After a long stint as a human resources director at the University of Minnesota, Forrester retired and moved to Pima County in Arizona. He found that many of his new friends and neighbors over 50 were interested in finding jobs but didn’t know how to go about it. In 2003 Forrester began to shop around the idea for an employment agency dedicated to helping them.
With encouragement and support from Jim Murphy, corporate relations director at the Pima Council on Aging, Forrester conducted focus groups with employers; developed a business plan; raised money from local, state and private foundations; secured in-kind donations from the City of Tucson and Pima County; and recruited volunteers.
In January 2006 MWC opened as an innovative, free job placement service for people over 50. Its goal is to make employers aware of the value of 50+ workers, refer well-qualified candidates and ensure that mature workers are prepared for and secure meaningful employment. Since its inception, MWC has registered 650 employers, posted 3,000 jobs, seen 1,850 job seekers and placed 860 of them. Many of the applicants found jobs in the nonprofit or public sectors. MWC places a special emphasis on serving women, minorities and low-income adults.
“We’re more than just a placement service. We’re an advocate. Our goal is to make our job seekers more marketable,” says Forrester, MWC’s administrator. The organization’s staff and volunteers meet individually with all job seekers, assess their skills and interests, provide referrals to training centers when needed, then work to place them in jobs. In addition, MWC works to educate employers and, explains Forrester, “explode the myths about older workers. Many employers had the misguided notion that older workers were too expensive or didn’t know the new technology – things like that. Our workers,” he says, “proved them wrong.”