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September 2008

Aging Texas Well

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services’ Aging Texas Well initiative provides resources for senior Texans. The program helps ensure that Texans prepare individually for aging in all aspects of life and that state and local infrastructure – laws, policies and services – support aging well throughout the lifespan. Visit the Web site, www.agingtexaswell.org, for more information and resources.

On-the-Job Experience

Resources abound for seniors seeking work.

by Karen Hudgins

In May 2008, 63-year-old Refugio County resident June Love was looking for summer work. A substitute teacher, Love needed a job until classes began in the fall.

A local work-force counselor told Love about Experience Works, a national nonprofit that provides training and employment services for low-income older workers. The Texas Workforce Commission contracts with Experience Works to manage the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which provides training and employment services to eligible low-income jobseekers aged 55 and older.

Through Experience Works, Love secured a job at Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent in Victoria, where she helps other jobseekers obtain jobs, register to be eligible for unemployment benefits, build their resumes and find work.

“This helps me to polish and keep my people skills fresh and add skills.”
– June Love, 63

“This helps me to polish and keep my people skills fresh and add skills,” Love says. “I’m brushing up on my Excel, Word and Access computer skills, too. I’m really happy that I found the program and am involved in it.”

Participants in SCSEP gain competitive job skills through paid part-time, on-the-job training in nonprofit organizations, school districts and state and federal agencies. The program also helps participants find and secure unsubsidized employment with public and private entities.

As the state contractor for SCSEP, Experience Works serves 154 Texas counties. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) funds both state and national organizations to administer SCSEP and contracts with five national organizations to provide training and employment services to older Texans in the remaining Texas counties.

Who is Eligible?

Senior Community Service Employment Program participants must:

  • be at least 55
  • have a family income of no more than 25 percent above the federal poverty level, which is $21,200 for a family of four or $14,000 for a family of two. Enrollment priority is given to persons over age 60, veterans and qualified spouses of veterans

Between July 2007 and June 2008, Experience Works provided services to more than 1,180 low-income seniors in Texas and more than 610,000 hours of community services to local agencies, which serve as training sites. Experience Works’ federal SCSEP project, funded by the DOL, served more than 1,050 seniors for the same time period.

In addition to working part-time, Love is pursuing her teacher certification in elementary education so she can teach full-time.

“I’m making whatever career choices I need to make to obtain viable employment,” she says. “Experience Works is certainly providing me with the office interaction and the office skills that I need to be successful in another environment.” FN

For more information and a list of SCSEP contacts by county, please visit the Texas Workforce Commission at www.twc.state.tx.us. For more information on Experience Works, call (877) 781-9953 or visit www.experienceworks.org.

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