40 Above, a Cool Option
Workers aged 40 and above have resources to make them more marketable
By Matthew Liptak
Local resident John Cruty is running an organization that helps older folks looking for work take on the challenge of finding that new job
40 Above teaches residents the skills on how to do it and also may offer a bit of a networking opportunity.
“This is a good statistic,” Cruty said. “Of the hundreds of people who come to us, we have had a placement rate of 33.3 percent. The reason is because there’s a synergy to help each other.”
Cruty has been a career counselor for a long time. He worked for 13 years at the nonprofit CNY Works. Before that, he worked for the Onondaga County Employment and Training Agency in 1992.
He loved helping people find jobs but Cruty wasn’t too fond of parts of his career.
“I don’t know about you but I hate bureaucracy,” he said. “It’s a necessary evil. What happened was I loved counseling people, but then I had to do data work. I had to do paperwork. I’m doing less counseling. I’m doing more paperwork. I finally retired in July of 2005. I got a pension.”
After retirement, the career counselor wanted to continue to help folks — but without government red tape. He became a regular member of the Mature Workforce Alliance in Syracuse that was started by Peter Svoboda.
When Svoboda moved on, Cruty took over. The name was changed and Cruty got his feet wet once again doing career counseling.
“Peter bows out in April of 2011,” Cruty said. “I’m the leader. I had three people left. I said, ‘’Aw no. What am I doing?’ From April to November of 2011, we weren’t getting a lot of people.”
Cruty made a hard decision to disband the group because of lack of interest, but then fate intervened. On his way out of the Westcott Center, where the group met in Syracuse, he bumped into a woman. Her name was Patricia Stewart.
They began talking and she told Cruty her story. She was an expert in human resources, but had to retire from Lockheed Martin because of a degenerative condition.
“She was an amazing human being,” he said. “She had a neuromuscular condition that made her eligible for Social Security disability. She had fantastic skills. She co-facilitated with me for about 10 months. From November 2011 to September 2012.
Then her condition got worse. It’s too bad. She was doing wonderful lectures and presentations.”
Then Cruty connected with a retired paratroop officer named Steve Brennaman, who co-facilitated for nine months.
“The guy was fabulous,” Cruty said. “He did wonderful presentations on interviewing, networking.”
Cruty has been facilitating 40 Above solo since then.
The door is open
He said he is open to someone new that might have the business background and be able to assist.
“We’ve had hundreds of people come to us,” he said. “We meet from 9:30-11:30 a.m. every Friday at North Syracuse Library. We’ve had nurse practitioners come. We’ve had accountants come. We’ve had mechanical engineers come. It’s pretty much been white collar.”
But the group is open to any one 40 years old or older who needs help preparing for the job hunt, just needs help writing a resume, or is curious about the job market for older folks. If interested, Cruty said people under 40 are welcome to check out a meeting.
Eighty-two-year-old Jim O’Brien put up the group’s website. He also presents topics to the group and he is a part of 40 Above’s many success stories.
“Two years ago, Schneider Packaging hired him,” Cruty said. “He was 80.”
Cruty wants to continue his success with helping people in the job market but he needs to draw more attention to 40 Above. He has an ad in the CNY Business Journal and a mention in the library’s newsletter. He hopes the word gets out that 40 Above offers free career help and has a good success rate.
“Obviously we have to have people coming to us,” Cruty said. “The part I enjoy is helping people. I don’t want to sit in a room with one or two people and not have people come because then what’s the point of having the organization?”
For more information on John Cruty and 40 Above, go to www.sites.google.com/site/40aboveworkersintransition/ or contact Cruty at email@example.com or call 315-569-3964.