Today’s job market seems to be filled with slots for career-hungry, technologically-advanced twenty-somethings just out of college. However, qualities employers are seeking may lie in an overlooked generation.
The Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission received a $322,024 grant from Senior Service America Inc. that will help train and market skills of workers aged 55 or older to employers seeking to fill positions.
“Sometimes employers forget about benefits (of) hiring older employees,” Executive Director of the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission Scott Farmer said. “Senior workers have a lot of great qualities that other generations sometimes can’t offer … qualities like experience, dependability, and willingness to do what it takes to get the job done.”
Farmer said that such characteristics were bred into the mindset of older generations. Often, however, their skills lag behind new technology or seniors are unsure of how to match the skills they have to an open job.
The Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission will use the grant to provide temporary employment to about 61 low-income older adults living in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties.
Concurrent with the employment opportunity, older aspiring workers participate in a Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which promotes self-sufficiency through work and offers a variety of career training sessions for those eligible. The program prides itself on being a “hand-up” in helping older Americans become eligible for jobs, instead of a “hand-out”.
SCSEP has helped 12,000 older workers tranistion into permanent employment throughout 34 states.
Some of those 12,000 employees have worked at Wiregrass 2-1-1 in Dothan.
Excutive Director of Wiregrass 2-1-1 David Duke said he is greatful to be parterning with the senior employment program for more than 10 years.
“The Senior Employment Program is a win, win for everyone involved. For financially strapped nonprofits like ours here at Wiregrass 2-1-1, the program provides senior placements that have a multitude of life skills that are extremely beneficial for those reaching out to our call center for help on a daily basis. When working at 2-1-1, the senior placements are also learning new skills that prove to be beneficial when re-entering the job market,” Duke said.
The grant will not only fund the coninuance of the program, but aid in keeping older workers healthy by remaining connected to those in their community, Farmer said.
“We really want to spead the word about this program. For those that are 55 and older, please keep our program in mind if you’re not having luck finding employment. We have avliable resources that can help you,” Farmer said.
For more information about the program, contact SEARPDC at 334-794-4093, ext. 1415.