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Older adults to work, receive training, and assist local agencies

Thanks to a $758,844 grant from Senior Service America, more older adults in Carlton County and surrounding counties will be able to find temporary employment.

Almost 90 percent of the grant – originally from the U.S. Department of Labor – will provide temporary employment to at least 114 low-income older adults living in Aitkin, Carlton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright counties.

These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a major program of the Older Americans Act. SCSEP is the only federal government program mandated to assist unemployed older adults seeking to rejoin the workforce by working in their community.

“The SCSEP program delivers a triple win for older adults and the entire community,” said Barbara Chaffee, CEO of Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, which received the grant. “First, SCSEP participants are helping more than 50 local community, faith-based, and public agencies carry out their mission, including Aitkin County Historical Society, Cloquet Workforce Center, Lakes and Pines, Monticello Help Center, and Changing Gaits, just to mention a few. Second, older workers are receiving on-the-job training to enhance their skills. And third, older workers are keeping healthy by remaining connected and not isolated in their community.”

CMJTS has received this annual SCSEP grant since 2006. Senior Service America is the second largest sponsor of SCSEP after a national grant competition held this year.

“Many low-income older adults want and need paid work, said Donna Satterthwaite, Senior Service America director of employment services. “By serving their community, older workers receive renewed skills as well as renewed hope, knowing that they are not forgotten. Older Minnesotans are fortunate to be given the opportunity through SCSEP and the dedicated staff of Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services.”