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North Dakotans Asked to Weigh In on Jobs Program for Low-Income Seniors

A four-year plan to provide job training for hundreds of low-income North Dakota seniors is under review. (iStockphoto)
A four-year plan to provide job training for hundreds of low-income North Dakota seniors is under review. (iStockphoto)
April 28, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. – Today is the final day for public comments on a four-year plan to continue bringing part-time jobs and training to hundreds of low-income North Dakota seniors.

The federal Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is intended to help about 300 North Dakotans who are at least age 55, unemployed or making less then $14,000 a year.

Faye Tschosik, program administrator of the Aging Services Division at the North Dakota Department of Human Services, says the long-term goal is to update their skills, which could lead to more job opportunities in the future.

"The participants that would be coming to the program are unemployable without some of these additional skills that would be needed, because they do lack computer skills, things that bring them up to speed to get into a new job," she explains.

According to a draft of the plan for North Dakota, about 11,000 people age 65 and older are living in poverty in the state.

The plan also notes that most new job opportunities in North Dakota will come in physically demanding fields such as construction or oil and gas extraction.

Tschosik says that can present a problem for aging workers, so the program tends to focus on training them for less physically taxing jobs.

"Areas like food services, administrative support, health care, retail trade, buildings and grounds keeping,” she explains. “We have nonprofit employers, such as senior centers, nursing homes. They could assist with reception."

North Dakota's Department of Human Services is accepting public comments until 5 p.m. today at 855-468-5465.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND