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Senior Services helps older adults enter, re-enter workforce

Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc. (CMJTS) was awarded a grant of $701,824 from Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI). Almost 90 percent of this grant — originally from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) — will pay wages and benefits to at least 112 low-income older adults living in Aitkin, Carlton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Sherburne, and Wright counties. These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) — a major program of the Older Americans Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Administered by USDOL, SCSEP is the only federal government program mandated to assist unemployed older adults seeking to rejoin the workforce.

“SCSEP is an important component of our job training services in central Minnesota,” said Barbara Chaffee, CEO of CMJTS. “Seniors are known for their superior work ethic, loyalty to employers, and ability to handle flexible work schedules.”

While employed as SCSEP participants, the older workers are assigned to local community, faith-based, and public agencies. They earn a wage while receiving on-the-job training that enhances their opportunities in the local job market.

“Many low-income older adults want and need paid work,” said Tony Sarmiento, SSAI executive director. “By serving their community, older workers receive renewed skills as well as renewed hope. We are very pleased to continue our support of CMJTS for the ninth consecutive year.”

For more information about SCSEP, contact Pennie Lee, CMJTS senior service coordinator, at 1-800-284-7425.