Experience of Older Workers
Older workers have so much to offer as members of today’s workforce. While they possess the work ethic, loyalty and life experience necessary to be assets to any workplace, what they often lack is opportunity. The Easter Seals Oregon Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a Department of Labor grant designed to help mature workers re-enter the workforce. The goal of the program is to assist participants to gain the skills necessary to obtain permanent employment, while helping seniors achieve economic independence and an improved lifestyle. Many seniors have challenges to overcome before they find employment. Some of these include stereotypes related to age as well as issues regarding transportation, housing, work experience, disability, income, self-esteem, language, health and education. Easter Seals SCSEP helps participants rise above these obstacles by providing opportunities to enhance existing skills, train for a new career, and find a rewarding job.
To qualify for the program, participants must be low-income, 55+, unemployed and be willing and able to look for work. Seniors are assigned to a Program Coordinator who develops an Individual Employment Plan, places them in a Host Agency training site and enrolls them in Job Club. The program assists them in acquiring knowledge regarding the job market as well as learning how to write resumes, cover letters, apply for jobs on-line and discover their strengths and weaknesses in relation to an identified career focus. Participants are also enrolled in computer classes to enhance their technology skills to be competitive in the labor market. As one SCSEP participant stated, “I had worked most of my life, but was laid off several years ago. I have been unable to find work due to my inability to understand and operate computers. Now I am gaining the opportunity to learn how to use the computer to enhance my job search and improve my skills in this area”.
The SCSEP program holds monthly orientations to explain the program and set up intake appointments for those who qualify. Participants then enter into an assessment phase designed to take a “snapshot” of basic skills, computer abilities and vocational options. The participant is placed at a training site and reassessed at regular intervals to ensure they are making progress. To learn more about the program, contact the Easter Seals Oregon office at 503-228-5100 or visit us at 5757 SW Macadam, Portland, OR 97239.
Kathy Treves, Easter Seals Oregon Office
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