We are presenting a look inside the WorkingNation Town Hall, co-hosted with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University before it airs on public television.

Our first town hall – entitled “Re-Skilling the Mid-Career Workforce” – was held on August 8 at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater on the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. The town hall was recorded for a special to be aired on December 27, 2017 at 8 p.m. on New Jersey Public Television.

The event focused on the challenges individuals aged 45 and older face when re-entering the workforce. These workers must overcome stereotypes about age and long-term unemployment gaps as well as adapt to the changing demands of the labor market.

Our town hall moderator, PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan, is joined by panelists Carl Van Horn, Kimberly McLain, John Colborn and Jane Oates. The town hall also featured the debut of WorkingNation’s Do Something Awesome mini-documentary on the Heldrich Center’s New Start Career Network, which is tackling the issue of long-term unemployment in New Jersey.

Our first video features Joe Konopka from the aforementioned DSA video talking about the psychological impact of joblessness. John Colborn, COO of JEVS Human Services, explains how his company is helping people cope with this transition.

Next up we have Hari and the NSCN Director Maria Heidkamp discussing the mission of the innovative program aimed at helping mid-career workers get new jobs, but also erasing the stigma which is applied to older workers.

Amanda Mullan, from the New Jersey Resources Corporation, explains how her company is recognizing the changing demands on the labor force as a result of automation and technological change.

Kimberly McLain of the Newark Alliance talks about how employers are working with her program to break down barriers for workers to find meaningful work, irrespective of their economic background or age.

Finally, we close with Maria from the NSCN on what her program is doing to help older workers improve their skills with job seeking and networking.

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