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Zehr: Older workers without jobs face uphill climb |


Jim and Brenda Barron are frustrated enough, and they’re among the lucky ones.

Jim’s résumé reads like a shoo-in for a high-tech job in Austin. He graduated from the University of Texas with an electrical engineering degree. He worked for a dozen years at Texas Instruments and 16 more at the Applied Research Labs at UT’s Pickle Research Campus. He built up an extensive cache of experience at several of Austin’s high-tech companies.

Today, though, he lives in an apartment just outside Detroit, where he has a contract position with General Dynamics. He got that job after two years with Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. All told, it’s been more than five years since Jim has worked in Austin – his hometown, where his wife works at Seton Medical Center and where his kids and two grandsons live. He said he gets home once every five or six weeks.

Jim, 63, is circumspect about his current situation. He knows his skills don’t fit some of the hot jobs in the Austin market today. He just wants to work.

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