Experience Works celebrates older workers

Staff report

LIMA — As one of the fastest-growing sector of today’s workforce, older workers play a vital role.

National Employ Older Workers Week is annually the last full week of September to recognize their many accomplishments and contributions. Forward-thinking employers are developing strategies to attract and retain older workers based on their enhanced decision-making skills, strong work ethic, and dependability.

“Employers are beginning to realize that tapping into the talent of older workers gives them a competitive edge,” said Kent Kahn, state manager in Ohio for Experience Works. “Their wisdom and experience helps anchor today’s multigenerational workforce and that’s a win-win for everyone.”

This awareness week also gives a nod to the U.S. Labor Department-funded Senior Community Service Employment Program or SCSEP for its role in helping thousands of older workers become job-ready. The program provides paid, community service-based training for unemployed, low-income adults, 55 or older, with poor employment prospects.

Experience Works operates the SCSEP in 30 states and Puerto Rico, including 34 counties in Ohio. Participants are placed in a wide variety of community service activities at nonprofit and public facilities, including daycare centers, senior centers, schools, libraries and hospitals. Spending an average of 20 hours a week, they build confidence while updating job skills and making a difference in their communities.

“We help older workers get the skills they need to be successful, while offering employers skilled and qualified candidates for local job openings,” says Kahn

Cathy Hill, 58, of Bowling Green, is one of many people in Ohio enrolled in the program who used their SCSEP training as a springboard to employment. Hill landed a job as a prep cook with the Wood County Committee on Aging Production Kitchen, where they prepare meals for more than 800 adults daily. Hill also works as a cashier and stock person for a local Circle K.

Experience Works is always looking for new partnerships and opportunities for older workers. For information, call 877-496-6439 or visit www.experienceworks.org.

Staff report