Monday, September 27, 2010

Dept. of Labor Promotes Older Workforce

This weekend marked the conclusion of National Employ Older Workers Week, an effort by the U.S. Department of Labor to promote the hiring of people 55 and older.

Experience Works administers the Senior Community Service Employment Program in Pennsylvania. The program pays older workers minimum wage for community service work as they receive skills training and job search assistance.

Experience Works Office Administrator Marcia Wilson says while the program helped more than 1,100 seniors in the past year, the need for assistance is growing beyond its scope. Wilson says age discrimination among employers is a contributing factor.

“Whether we like to admit that or not, it is there. And people oftentimes think that an older person either can’t keep up with the younger people, can’t get along with the younger people, can’t learn anything new, or don’t want to do today’s jobs. Those are all myths that we have to dispel.”

Wilson says one area where seniors have an advantage is part-time employment: combined with social security or retirement funds, seniors can thrive on multiple income streams. She says people 55 and older often take these jobs when younger workers turn them down.

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