KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — More than 100 seniors flocked to the O'Connor Senior Center in Knoxville on Wednesday, as they hosted their Spring Job Fair. Twenty different local businesses attended and offered part and full-time jobs, employment training opportunities and supportive services for the seniors.
Fairs like this are becoming more common, as a rising number of older Americans are heading back to the workforce. Brenda Tate, who works at Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, said that events like this one are important for seniors.
"Since the pandemic, several of our seniors have kind of been isolated, some have noticed a decrease in wages or their retirement or social security is really not enough to kind of meet their needs, so these kinds of job fairs will give them an opportunity to come out and meet employers who actually have jobs to fill," said Tate.
The employers at the event said that senior citizens may often get turned away from jobs because of their age, but events like these help break that trend. The event also provided seniors with free COVID-19 vaccines as well as take-home testing kits.
Many of the seniors at the job fair said rising costs across the nation were the main reason for them to re-join the workforce.
"Food is so high now, the minimum wage is $7.25," said Linda Chandler, who attended the event. "We have to go back to work. With our income, we have to go back to work."
"Food is so high now, the minimum wage is 7.25, you can't be roast with 7.25, we have to go back to work, with our income... we have to go back to work."