By Beth Hannon-Penny, Older Worker Services Program Director, Goodwill Industries International
This May, we celebrate Older Americans Month. At a time when employers need to build resilience, older workers can play a critical role. Many older Americans are still thriving as part of the workforce. In fact, one in every four employees in America is 55 or older.
One such individual is Kevin, who lost his job during the pandemic. At the time, he lacked resources to repair his car and travel to interviews. For several weeks, he had looked for new employment, but he didn’t have the skills necessary to navigate the services for veterans in his area. One day, he heard about the Senior Community Service and Employment Program (SCSEP) at Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc. (Toledo), where he enrolled and created an individualized career plan with a Goodwill career coach.
In his 50s, Kevin lacked consistent work experience after he left the military. Carol, a SCSEP program manager, helped him connect with the Humane Society, where he could immediately contribute and learn job skills. The Humane Society was overwhelmed with need as a result of the pandemic, so having Kevin training with them to clean kennels and care for the animals was a well-timed benefit to the organization.
Throughout his time at the Humane Society, Kevin shared that it was therapeutic to help the animals and make adoptions possible for families. His work ethic, positive attitude and attention to detail did not go unnoticed. After a few months of paid community service and job training, Kevin was offered employment with the Humane Society, where he is still working nearly half a year later.
As a result of the services Goodwill provided, Kevin ended his cycle of going in and out of the workforce. Moreover, he found the support he needed. He is continuing his counseling sessions with Goodwill and connected with other resources he needs to thrive.
All older Americans deserve the opportunity to thrive. Goodwill helps them through paid training, upskilling, ongoing training and assistance finding jobs that provide livable wages. If you are an older worker seeking help with training or paid work experience, contact your local SCSEP representative to learn more about opportunities. Find a SCSEP location near you to see if you qualify.