Three new interviews from California and another expert interview


Today, we’re adding three more interviews from California, as well as a new expert interview to Over 50 and Out of Work:

Kathryn Balles, 57, of Newport Beach, Calif., grew up in Guttenberg, N.J.   Unwilling to follow her girlfriends into traditional occupations such as nursing or teaching, Kathryn went to college and embarked on an exciting and financially rewarding path in the financial services industry.   Her career seemed to reach its pinnacle when she was hired to work for Lehman Bros. in California.

“If anybody knows about Lehman Bros., the rest is a disaster, and here I am, out of work,” Kathryn said.

Virginia Montelongo, 55, lives in a homeless shelter in Whittier, Calif., while she hunts for a job.   Originally from East Los Angeles, she had a daughter and dropped out of high school before she graduated.  She was, however, able to become a union ironworker in her twenties, earning good pay with benefits until the company closed.  Around the same time she married, but became divorced 17 years later.

On her own again, she supported herself with a series of odd jobs until she entered a medical billing and coding program at Everest College, a private, for-profit institution.  Although she completed the program in 2010, she now owes the school $8,000 and has been unable to find work in California where the statewide unemployment rate is 12.5 percent.  She is determined to find a job and reunite her family.

Darlene Palacios, 54, of Bellflower, Calif., joined the Air Force after she graduated from high school and served during the Vietnam War.  Following the four years she spent in the military, she earned a college degree and began her lifelong career as an administrative assistant and bookkeeper.

She lost her last job at a plumbing company when its business declined as a result of the Great Recession.  Her unemployment benefits have expired, and she is living on her dwindling savings without medical insurance while she searches for a new position. Despite the jobhunting obstacles she encounters, her volunteer work allows her to keep a positive and hopeful outlook.

David Bank and Marci Alboher are both vice presidents at Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank on boomers, work and social purpose that was founded in 1998. Civic Ventures, based in San Francisco, publishes a site Encore.org for people seeking encore careers — jobs that combine purpose, passion and a paycheck.

In their video, David explains the nonprofit’s mission and how it has evolved as a result of the Great Recession.  Marci offers practical advice on networking and volunteering for jobseekers. Please add your comments to our site.

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