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Studies say the longer you’ve been unemployed, the harder it is to find work.

Benefits expired last month for thousands of Nevadans who’ve been out of work for several years. Those over the age of 50 in particular may have trouble finding jobs, since employers may hire younger workers in order to save on salaries.

“I’m 55 and when you apply for a job that you feel you are utterly qualified for and then you don’t hear anything back you think, is it because of my age?” says Philip Dahlheimer, who has been without full-time work since 2008.

Dahlheimer says he had to reinvent himself and piece together a career of many disparate parts. He now works as a packaging consultant, inventor, property manager and videographer.

Nishon Burton, manager of Nevada Job Connect agrees that the long-term unemployed  need to look at forging a new career out of old skills  - "I wouldn’t say they need to create something out of nothing, but you have to look at the skills you had, see what's transferable from what you did," says Burton.

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Although Dahlheimer's reinvention came with a downsizing of lifestyle – he can now no longer afford to regularly take his kids to the movies - he says he now has “the freedom to help more people across a broader spectrum.”

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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada