Re-entering the workforce can be hard for older workers.

Alex* knows this only too well. After losing his job and spending nearly three years on social assistance, the sixty-something thought he might never find employment again.

He had overcome challenges before, and was proud of his 14 years of sobriety. But being unemployed for so long led to bouts of depression.

Alex spoke to his caseworker at Toronto Employment and Social Services about the difficulties he faced as an older worker trying to rejoin the labour market, and in finding the supports to move forward.

His caseworker suggested he consider applying for a job opportunity with the Investing in Neighbourhoods (IIN) program, which connects job-ready Ontario Works clients who are further from the labour market with paid part-time job opportunities in the non-profit sector for up to one year.

After attending an IIN information session at a City of Toronto employment centre, Alex was encouraged by the possibility of working again. But he was aware that he’d be competing with many other job seekers and didn’t want to get his hopes up too high.

Alex met with staff at the employment centre. They helped him update his resume and taught him interview preparation techniques and how to sell his skills to employers. Alex then attended a hiring event and applied for positions with a number of not-for-profit agencies that partner with the IIN program.

Shortly after the hiring event, he was called for an interview—and got the job.

Even more heartening for Alex is that, after a couple of months in the position, his employer told him that they would like to hire him permanently when the IIN contract ends.

* Name changed to protect privacy.