Posted on 22 May 2012
By Mark Miller
Career change often begins with a jolting disruption, like a job loss, a health problem or family issues.
For Becky Loyacano, 57, change began with one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed Loyacano’s home in Slidell, Louisiana in 2005, it also crushed the New Orleans native’s work selling disability insurance.
“After Katrina, there was no job because there were no accounts to go call on,” she says.
Following the storm, Loyacano moved twice, but despite her experience in insurance sales and as a buyer and manager for a sporting goods retailer, the recession made finding work a challenge – especially as an older worker.
Still, Loyacano’s story has a happy ending, and highlights a solution to a critical issue facing the country: How to help older workers stay on the job.
Participating in a three-year initiative in 10 cities that offered strategies for supporting older workers, Loyacano found new work through a plan that placed workers in paid temporary internships. The program, which allowed workers to try new jobs while gaining experience and education, is a model that could be replicated in other parts of the country.