Recognizing older workers
In recognition of the contributions made by older workers, the U.S Department of Labor has declared the week of Sept. 20-26 as National Employ Older Workers Week.
The week also showcases the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which is designed to help low-income, mature individuals get the training they need to find good jobs in their communities.
"Because of the current economic situation, many older people are finding it necessary to work longer, look for new jobs or return to work after retirement," Said Teri Stepaniak, state director for Experience Works, the nonprofit organization that operates the SCFSEP in many counties of Minnesota. "This week recognizes the vital role older workers play in this country's workforce"
Stephaniak added that the situation for older people seeking jobs is often difficult because of the large number of people of all ages who need to find work. In August 2009, there were nearly two million Americans age 55 and older unemployed and looking for work, up to 69 percent from the same time last year.
"Finding a job is especially difficult for older people who may have been out of the job search process for several years and are not familiar with current resume styles or process of applying for jobs online. Also, older job seekers might lack technical and computer skills required in today's workplace," she said.
"Through the SCSEP, Experience Works assists older people with self-assessments, technical and skills training, the job search process, and finding an appropriate training assignment with a local community service agency. The goal is to provide participants with the skills and tools to transition from their community service assignments to regular employment with a local employer."
Ron Harjes, 61, of Crookston, knows first hand how difficult finding a job can be. When Harjes contacted Experience Works, he needed more than just a job. He needed employment training, a home, and self-confidence.
He began his temporary paid employment training at Villa St. Vincent doing maintenance work, and he quickly began to find his footing again.
The independent nature of his training helped him find the self-confidence he need to take more tasks and learn new things, and the income he earned helped him find an apartment.
The good things happening for him for him snowballed, and now he has pride in his work and the motivation to keep moving up.
For more information about Experience Works and its services in your area, contact Gloria Waddington in Detroit Lakes at 218-844-5380, or call toll free 1-800-450-5627 or visit online at www. experience works.org.