Program helps older workers re-enter workforce

Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 02, 2015

Anyone who’s currently looking or a job can tell you, it’s pretty tough.

Fewer positions are available and depending on how old you are, you may have “aged-out” of some opportunities. But there is a program aimed at getting you the training and skills necessary to land that job.

Evelyn De Jesus tells ABC Action News that her work never stops. She’s not complaining though. De Jesus is simply happy to be employed.

"The day starts as soon as I open that door. I'm the first one in and the last one out. I take my responsibility to heart," said De Jesus.

Her story is similar to many who’ve aged-out of employment opportunities, so to speak. After sending out plenty of resumes and getting plenty of rejection letters, she was finally able to get work at CARES Adult Day Services.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity because doors were not opening,” said De Jesus.

CARES administrator, Christine Powers says workers like Evelyn just need employers to give them a chance.

“We’ve been extremely successful, we’ve had some wonderful people. Lots of success stories," Powers told ABC Action News.

CARES centers in both Hillsborough and Pasco counties participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program. It’s a work-based training program for those 55 and older.

Participants in the program work an average of 20 hours a week.  They're paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. The training serves as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities.

For De Jesus, the job has been a godsend.

"Our generation, we know what it is to work hard," said De Jesus.

Priority enrollment in the program is given to military veterans and their spouses, as well as those who’ve failed to find employment after using services through the American Job Center.

For more information on how to get involved with the Senior Community Service Employment Program you can call the Toll-Free Help Line at 1-877-872-5627.

You can also find a link to a service provider in your area here.