Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively provided job-training and employment services to nearly 230,000 older workers – age 55 and over. As the saying goes, “Age is nothing but a number” and the wealth of knowledge and experience that these individuals bring to an employer is an asset.
Each year during the last full week in September, the US Department of Labor (DOL) and the workforce development community celebrates older workers by marketing their value and continual contribution to today’s workforce. National Employ Older Workers Week (NEOWW), September 24 – 30, 2017, is about acknowledging and promoting the value of older workers across our nation. Our focus is on the significance of older workers.
The week also showcases DOL’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), an on-the-job training and employment program designed to help those aged 55 and older update their jobs skills, build work experience and confidence, and continue to have economic security and well-being.
This year’s NEOWW theme, “Transform Your Workforce – Hire An Older Worker,” perfectly matches the message we deliver to employers in our role as national SCSEP providers. Local Goodwill organizations help seniors find work, develop new skills and talents, and build their financial security through SCSEP.
Despite exceeding its performance goals set by DOL for employment rates, retention and six month average earnings, the SCSEP program has been vulnerable to funding cuts by Congress, which could impact the number of people who could be served. This includes people like Toni Petterson, who had difficulty finding employment as she was raising her great-granddaughter, until she enrolled in the SCSEP program.
As we celebrate NEOWW, you can help us share the value of this important program. Share your story with us! As Congress looks to make cuts to programs, tell us how federal programs like SCSEP have impacted your life. If you’re an employer who has hired an older worker through SCSEP, share the contributions that your employee has made.