Operation Boomerang Launches New Website
Nonprofit Offers Support For The Unemployed Over Age 45
San Diego, CA April 8, 2014 Operation Boomerang has announced the launch of their new website, http://opboom.org. The site is designed to raise awareness about the plight of the long-term unemployed over age 45 and highlight Operation Boomerang’s offerings, which include resources and support for midlife workers in transition.
Unemployment rates cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics may be misleading, as the numbers reflect only those who are claiming unemployment benefits and do not include workers who are underemployed or who have dropped out of the workforce entirely. Recent studies suggest that the real unemployment rate is much higher, with as many as 100 million Americans out of work.
“One-third of the American population is out of work. Of those, 33% are over age 45. This is an abysmal situation that needs to change,” says Lisa Strickland, founder and executive director of Operation Boomerang. “If you’ve been jobless 27 weeks or longer, you’re considered “damaged goods” by prospective employers, even if you’re out of work through no fault of your own. To make matters worse, many companies screen candidates on the basis of a perfect match with the job description. This practice defies logic, as many skills are transferable. Companies need to start considering applicants on the basis of ability to do the job, instead of excluding viable candidates by pursuing a ridiculous and elusive perfect match.”
Operation Boomerang was founded in 2012 when Strickland, a marketing/PR professional and registered nurse, was unable to find work. “Once I realized that millions of other qualified professionals were in the same situation, I decided to do something about it. Being unemployed affects every aspect of your life. Not only are you trying to stay afloat without an income, you’re thrust into dealing with the isolation, angst and fear that come with it. Ask anyone who’s been unemployed—it takes work to stay positive and hopeful.”
For many midlife workers, unemployment is an unexpected consequence of the Great Recession. As Strickland is quick to point out, “The unemployed over age 45 face a unique set of challenges. Ageism is alive and well. Some companies won’t even consider applicants who are unemployed. For many of the midlife jobless, it’s the first time in decades that they’ve been out of work. Establishing your personal brand and marketing yourself doesn’t always come naturally. By sponsoring résumé and LinkedIn profile makeovers, Operation Boomerang gives unemployed midlife workers the tools they need to effectively compete in today’s job market.”
Operation Boomerang is funded through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. The organization is also developing an online talent pool from which companies can recruit prospective hires. ‘It’s all about increasing awareness and removing the obstacles to employment,” Strickland says. “The jobless are living in poverty. Until we wake up to the fact that being poor is a mainstream problem, the unemployment crisis will continue.”
The Operation Boomerang website highlights the services offered which include résumé and LinkedIn profile makeovers, career coaching and sponsorship of online skills training. It also includes a blog and is equipped to accept donations through PayPal.
“There would be no Operation Boomerang were it not for the generous donations of time, talent and support, especially from Espinoza Webworks, Jeff Dillow Photography, and the Marlowe-Pugnetti Company. To these people and more, I am ever grateful,” Strickland adds.
Lisa Strickland is the executive director of Operation Boomerang, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping midlife workers get back on their feet and return to the workforce. Learn more by visiting opboom.org. You can also find Operation Boomerang on Twitter @opboom, Facebook, and LinkedIn.