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Job Training for Older Folks Gets Boost from High Employment


Monday, October 24, 2022   

A program that helps low-income older people find work may be getting a boost from an economy that's favoring employees.

Easterseals-Goodwill's Senior Community Service Employment Program helps folks age 55 and older get back into the workforce. The company works in Idaho, Montana, Utah and some counties in eastern Oregon.

Tina Johnson, assistant vice president of workforce development and behavioral health with Easterseals-Goodwill, lives in North Idaho. While it may be ironic, she said high employment is helping create job prospects for workers of any age.

"The employee is calling the shots, needless to say," said Johnson. "So, there is such a shortage that it really is kind of flipped from where it was years prior."

Johnson said the need for more workers also is providing opportunities for people to be trained on-site.

Folks in the program get experience with a host agency - usually a nonprofit or government agency in their community.

Johnson added that employers are going out of their way to ensure they can find the right people, sometimes covering some of the costs of getting new workers up to speed.

"More than anything, I mean, it really impacts their pocketbook," said Johnson. "Because training - like, even tuition, that they've had to pay out-of-pocket in the past - all of those fees are being covered by the employer."

Johnson said some people come back to the workforce because of hardship, such as the death of a loved one, that might have left them with less money than they thought.

She added that others come back when they get bored with retirement. Either way, she said, they're an asset to local companies.

"They've got an incredible work ethic," said Johnson. "So, they think it's sounds great that they can just retire - and then they do it and they realize that's not what they want. They want to be in the workforce."

She noted that many of the older folks in their program are interested in working face-to-face with people, and jobs in social services are among the most popular.

Disclosure: Easterseals contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Livable Wages/Working Families, Mental Health, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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