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Texas Jobs, Housing, and Resources: Seniors 55+ and Veterans

The average lifespan is increasing, and this means more working years for many Americans. Many people are moving to Texas because of new businesses and new employment at higher than average wages, even for senior citizens.

The average lifespan is increasing, and this means more working years for many Americans. Many people are moving to Texas because of new businesses and new employment at higher than average wages, even for senior citizens.

The Road of Life and Work Is Longer in the 21st Century

A Second or Retirement Career

An acquaintance of mine worked for 25+ years in another profession after earning a degree in engineering. When his company ceased business, he was immediately hired by an aerospace company in a well-paying job as a design engineer in a large company at the age of 55. He went to Texas, where many such jobs are open and increasing in numbers.

I've worked with all demographics of workers seeking employment for over 10 years under federal and state funding programs, with over a 90% job placement rate every year, including seniors and veterans.

Those experiences provided me with useful facts to help job seekers in the future, especially since they led to the top numbers of long-term employed people in my state.

I saw thousands of adults and youth receive training and gain long-term jobs every year, and this included senior citizens aged 55+, veterans, displaced homemakers, laid-off workers, and other special groups.

This work and ongoing follow-up with public and private contacts have provided an opportunity to gather resources for senior citizens and other special groups of unemployed people.

Living Longer, Working Longer: Texas Makes It Easier

Due to living longer in the 21st century, many retired individuals need to return to work and maintain a good job for several years rather than leave the workplace. Texas is a good place to look for work.

Our Aging Population Needs More Work

During recessions and job shrinkage, hiring older people becomes more of an issue than it is in prosperous times. Globally, seniors are living longer and often need to work more years than in the past.

One of the fast-growing segments among the homeless in America is seniors ages 55 and over. These individuals may have lost a job through downsizing or layoff and were unable to find replacement employment. Some have lost their homes to high medical bills, and others are Baby Boomers (including veterans) who are struggling with substance abuse.

Senior citizens are not the only sector of the American population that can use some help in finding jobs. County workforce offices in the last few decades have provided targeted programs for seniors, displaced homemakers, veterans of all ages, Welfare2Work clients, noncustodial parents, displaced workers, ex-felons, and others. We have solutions for all demographics, and they apply well to seniors and veterans.

The Best Texas Cities for Finding Work

A number of communities are a good choice for relocation in order to work. Top cities for finding good work at a living wage at any age in Texas are:

  • Houston
  • Dallas
  • Austin
  • El Paso
  • San Antonio
  • Fort Worth
  • Arlington

Wimberley is a resort town that is also a good bet. Jobs available here consistently include contractors, freelancers, and gigs for the self-employed in a number of industries.

Houston Is the Best for Seniors

The most promising cities for senior citizens to find and maintain independent types of employment have been named by several economic publications, including Zen99. Overall, Houston creates more jobs for seniors and all other age groups than any other city in the state.

Spotlight on Wimberley

Wimberley, in central Texas in the Hill Country, is a resort town that grew up around a local trading post started in 1848 before the American Civil War and about the time of the Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Potato Famines in the UK.

Today, the resort town is a good place for senior people to retire and start a new career in the Tourism and Hospitality Industries. However, the median age is only about 43, so this is not a town of "old people."

The Blanco River runs through town, with many shops and interesting places along its banks. In recent years, flooding has affected the town, but tourism has grown. Jacob's Well and the famous site of billboard fame, Blue Hole, are located nearby. At the nearby state park, visitors can borrow fishing tackle (no fishing license is required in the park) and take a canoe trip. Visitors enjoy catching bass, sunfish, trout, and channel catfish. The sunfish is most abundant.

During the First Quarter of 2016, over 15,000 job openings could be found near Wimberley; and this number rose to over 30,000 during the First Quarter of 2017 and over 50,000 in the First Quarter of 2019.

Work in Wimberley

Increasing jobs in this area of the state include over 6,000 positions for managers and over 6,000 nursing jobs. and 1,000 or more openings for truck drivers. Sales at all levels require thousands more workers, especially since this is a resort area.

Several acquaintances have moved her, and some have secured part-time or full-time work in the shops and cafes in the tourist attractions, while others have started home-based businesses making items for sale in the shops. See popular places in Wimberly on the map below.

  • From 2011 to 2016, seniors in their 60s traveled to North Dakota to work in the Williston Basin and Bakken Oil Fields. Some of the many jobs available there are physically taxing, but some are less so and more suitable for seniors.
  • At the end of 2014, Texas seniors ages 55 through 64 years old made up approximately 9.7% of the state population. Individuals ages 65 to 74, many of whom may be working, comprise another 5+% of the population, which was over 25 million people total. From 2014 onward, the percentage of senior citizens ages 55 to 74 continued to increase. Jobs for older workers are important, and Texas recognizes this.
  • American Senior Citizens Still Owe $36 Billion In Student Loans – 2015:
    Americans 60 years and older are still paying off $36 billion in student debt. That's according to research from the Federal Bank of New York.
  • Retirement of 34% to 40% of RNs from 2015 to 2020 increases the need for nurses. As the US population ages, so do the professionals in Healthcare Services. A large number of nurses are retiring before 2020, leaving shortages in RN/LPN staff and professors to train new nurses.

Employment Resources for Seniors, Veterans, Women, and More

I worked under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), followed by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). These legislated programs sequentially provided the funding needed for States and Counties to provide Employment and Training (E&T) to youth, adults, and senior citizens in a number of subcategories. veterans, ex-offenders, and displaced homemakers were some of the groups that benefited greatly from these programs.

A Veteran and working dog

A Veteran and working dog

The WIA is the current legislation under which these funds are allocated and through which additional Stimulus Funding was provided under the Obama Administration.

Texas maintains a large E&T program and a wide network of services for all job seekers. In addition, faith-based agencies joined the initiative to help our increasing numbers of Seniors, US Veterans, and single parents find and maintain employment. This work even includes independent contracting and freelancing.

When in doubt about whom to call for employment or other help anywhere in the State of Texas for help, dial 211.

Texas Workforce Offices Offer Senior/Veterans Services

Across the State of Texas, county agencies set up the WIA are available to help Seniors and others with job search, education and training, support series, and other aspects of employment.

Similar to job seeking, accessing and using services with the WIA agencies takes consistent, ongoing follow-up and communications with staff assigned to you. The divisions and services one can expect from senior services offered at WIA agencies include those below:

  1. The Texas Workforce Commission administers the state’s part of this seniors' program totally through the Experience Works organization in 88 counties.
  2. Senior Community Service Employment Program.
  3. In the remaining Texas counties, these national organizations offer Employment and Training to older job seekers:

Special priority attention is provided to seniors in these programs who are: disabled, have limited English, have low reading/writing/math skills, have a rural residence, are veterans, have low employment prospects, or are homeless or at risk of the same.

WIA Employment and Training Services

Primary Services

  • Orientation to Texas Workforce Services (what is offered and what to expect).
  • Job Counseling, possible work-related assessments that might include interests and skills
  • Employment Referrals: Referrals to specific companies and for specific jobs.
  • Training Referrals to educational or vocational training and other services. Funding may be available for Education and Training classes.
  • Labor Market Information: Known as LMI, this feature informs clients of current employment trends and high-demand jobs in the near future.
  • Resume and Employment Interviewing Classes: Seniors can refresh their resumes, prepare their very first resume if they have never used one, and practice mock interviewing.
  • Computer Classes: Basic computer literacy is mandatory in most occupations today.
  • Resource Rooms: Computers, printers, FAX machines, telephones, and copy machines. Most of these items are free to use.

Additional Services

  • Assessment, with the preparation of a specifically prescribed IEP = Individual Employment Plan. These are very important and must be individually tailored. For example, there is no need for remedial math classes if you are a CPA.
  • Supportive Services to overcome barriers to employment - This might include help with transportation or some other type of help. One might receive a gasoline allowance, taxicab vouchers, bus tickets, or help with setting up bus services for the physically challenged.
  • Health Screening
  • Basic Skills Training, if needed. This includes ESOL—English as a Second Language, reading/writing, maths, and instruction for any needed equivalent high school diploma: the General Educational Development (GED) Certificate.
  • Occupational Skills Training: PC keyboarding, email, simple data entry, Internet search, telephone business etiquette, home health aide skills, others.
  • Training specifically for looking for work and maintaining a job.
  • Job Search Assistance

Veteran- and Senior-Friendly Companies

Job search engines currently maintain sub listings of jobs from employers that are particularly friendly and accommodating to special categories like Recent Graduates, LGBT, Single Parents, and others. In Texas, job seekers can search for work that Seniors and Veterans can fill with bosses that will love to have them on board.