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ND Officials: Jobs Abound for Lower-Income Workers Over 55

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says in states like North Dakota, a growing proportion of residents ages 55 and older are either working or looking for work. (Adobe Stock)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says in states like North Dakota, a growing proportion of residents ages 55 and older are either working or looking for work. (Adobe Stock)
February 7, 2020

BISMARK, N.D. - North Dakota is once again applying for federal grant money to fund its work-training program for older, low-income workers. Officials hope to raise awareness at a time when they say there are many opportunities for folks in this age group.

Public comments are being accepted about how the state is administering the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The evaluation comes as North Dakota hopes to get more funding through 2023.

Jackie Seefeldt, administrator of the Aging Services Program at the Department of Human Services, says the draft plan includes a variety of jobs that are widely available across the state.

"There is a lot that would meet the needs of, you know, the 55 and plus that don't include the heavy maintenance and a lot of strenuous strength and stuff like that," says Seefeldt.

The types of jobs include food service and clerical work. North Dakota's Labor Market Information says many of these industries will see growth over the next five years as the younger workforce takes up jobs that require more physical labor.

Seefeldt says it's possible that many seniors in need of work are not aware that this type of training is available. That's why DHS hopes the public-comment period will generate more interest.

"This is a great opportunity that, if they aren't workforce ready, to get those training needs and to get back into the workforce to improve their well-being," says Seefeldt.

To be part of the program, a person needs to be at least age 55, unemployed or not necessarily job-ready, and with an income of no more than 125% of the federal poverty level.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - ND