Diane Krayenhagen has been without a job for the past year and half. Her unemployment benefits have run out and she’s living off a cashed-in CD.
In the past, Krayenhagen has been a custodian. She’s worked in school food services, retail and at a small cafe.
Finding a job isn’t as easy as Krayenhagen remembered.
“It used to be all you had to do was fill out applications and meet face to face,” she said.
Most recently, Krayenhagen was employed at Amarr Garage Doors. But that job was lost when the company discontinued its third shift.
“I always had a job. I always thought I would be able to get a job. I never figured it would be this hard,” Krayenhagen said.
Krayenhagen, who’s 56, was one of the many older workers who attended Douglas County Senior Services’ employment expo.
The event had a job fair with 13 vendors, many with ties to the home health care industry. There were also resume reviews and workshops on the basics of job hunting and how to use social networking to find a job.
“The job market is tough. With companies downsizing, a lot of times it is the older workers that are losing their jobs or moving to another job. So we want to equip them to make the hunt easier for them, to give them some confidence with their resume,” said Janet Ikenberry, who is the community services manager for Douglas County Senior Services.
Among those waiting to have their resumes critiqued were Mitch Landreth and Gail Alder.
At 54, Alder has 30 years of book keeping, accounting and office experience. Like Krayenhagen, Alder never thought she would have trouble finding work. She’s been looking for six months.
“I’d even go to cleaning houses,” Alder said.
Landreth, 51, spent 15 years in construction, working on projects that removed materials with environmental hazards.
“Then the bottom fell out of the industry,” Landreth said. “Basically there is nothing I can get.”
In 18 months, Landreth has received three interviews. He was waiting in line Thursday with the hopes that changes to his resume could lead to a job.
“I’ve dumbed down (the resume) and I’ve punched it up,” he said. “It’s pretty frustrating.”
Suzanne Cotrel Doyle, a business consultant for Heartland Works Inc., said she sees about 120 people a day looking for jobs at the Lawrence Workforce Center. She noted that jobs — and good ones — are still available.
“There’s a lot of frustration on the part of seniors. They are feeling the pressure. A lot of people can’t afford to retire and they need to work,” she said.