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The science of rejection: Helping the long-term unemployed

MIT professor Ofer Sharone hopes his research will result in an understanding of how long-term unemployment affects people.
MIT professor Ofer Sharone hopes his research will result in an understanding of how long-term unemployment affects people.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe STaff

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MIT professor Ofer Sharone hopes to solve a dark problem that few even want to discuss: how to help the long-term unemployed.

Sharone, however, is daring to try. Later this month, he will launch a project called the Institute for Career Transitions, an organization to help the long-term unemployed, focusing on 40-to 65-year-old workers with college degrees. The institute will begin by pairing them with career counselors or job coaches, free of charge, for three months.

Sharone and his researchers will also try build a better understanding of long-term unemployment and approaches that might help overcome its challenges and barriers. They will study the moods, health, and levels of depression among the program’s participants, examining how long-term unemployment—and repeated disappointments—affects them.

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