JOHN BAUCOM

Age: 76 Workplace: Quality Career Services

When the economy tanked, many of John Baucom's customers stopped dropping by his Andover diner for roast beef and pie.

"I lost my business during the recession," he said. "Part of my investment [in the diner] was from money borrowed on my home. That gave me a mortgage. So now I have to work.''

Last year the great-grandfather was given a job by Quality Career Services, the employment agency in St. Paul that places struggling seniors in jobs on behalf of the Department of Labor.

Now Baucom manages seniors assigned to day care centers, schools, libraries, senior centers, hospitals and other nonprofits in Anoka County.

The job pays minimum wage, but it helps, Baucom said. Working "is a need-to-do kind of thing," he said. Along with Social Security, his job ensures he can keep up with his $900 a month mortgage.

"There isn't an opportunity for vacations, but there is an opportunity to live," he said.

And one day, he said, he'd like to own his own business again.

Dee DePass