Aging workforce falls into jobless gap

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) - Morristown's in the middle of a big project to get locals to work. The mayors' task force has met a couple of times to discuss filling already available jobs. There are plenty of them, but without qualified people to fill them, big business won't stick around.

But there's a whole population of unemployed workers who say they want to work, but can't get a second look from employers. Some believe it's because of age.

"They won't say that I'm too old, but I'm 60 years old and that's all they see. You know, they don't see that I don't look 60, 5:26:32 I don't act 60, I've got a lot of years of work left in me. I don't want to sit at home," said Charlotte Crandall.

It's a group that's fallen into a gap between those experienced on now dated systems and inexperienced twenty-somethings who grew up using computers.

"It was OK to come from high school and work in a factory and gain those skills through the course of a career, but our companies today really expect more than that," said Chamber of Commerce president Marshall Ramsey.

It's left those like Charlotte and her 66-year-old husband Alan with little chance to get back in the workforce after getting laid off during the economic downturn.

"When I do hear back from people, corporations and so forth, they let me know they've decided to go with someone more qualified," said Alan Crandall.

The task force is studying the problem, but for now, suggests people go back to school.

"A continuing education should always be continuing," said Ramsey.

Places like Morristown's Tennessee Technology Center trains displaced workers on the latest technology to get back to work or to start a second career. Their only requirement is a desire to work.

Meanwhile, Morristown is hoping for new development to head its way in the next few years opening up hundreds of jobs.

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