An effort is underway in Butler County to help residents ages 55 and older find a job. The program specifically takes aim at older residents who are having a hard time finding work and need skills training to compete for jobs.
Mature Services is a non-profit organization that provides employment and training services to low-income, older adults. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, according to Tammy Jacobson, project director.
In 2015, 33 million Americans ages 55 and older were employed, and 1.3 million were actively seeking work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly twice as many older workers ages 65 and older were employed in 2015 than teenage workers.
“We believe that mature workers are a valuable resource in the 21st century workforce,” Jacobson said. “Mature workers are experienced, dependable and interested in learning new skills.”
Mature Services partners with local non-profit organizations to provide paid internships for qualified adults. The internships give trainees the opportunity to polish old skills and learn new skills while on working at a community agency.
“Our goal is for the trainee to find employment after they have completed their internship,” Jacobson said.
Older job trainees can also benefit from the agency’s Employer Based Training (EBT) program, which pays for the new employee’s training time.
The EBT Program covers all wages and fringes during the initial training period, which is typically four to eight weeks. At the end of this training period, the trainee is then transferred to the business’s payroll.
“Partnering with employers through the EBT program ensures that both our candidate and the employer can be sure that the job is a good fit,” Jacobson said.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting older workers involved with Mature Services has been the lack of exposure, she said.
“Our biggest challenge is getting the word out about the program. Unfortunately, sometimes I think we are the world’s best kept secret,” she said. “In addition to being 55 or older, the applicant must meet the income guidelines for their family size. Some of the adults that apply for our program do not meet the income guidelines.”
Those guidelines are based on the poverty guidelines set by the federal government, which range from $14,850 for a family of one, up to $51,113 for a family of eight. For families of more than eight, add $5,200 for each additional person.
“Our program is effective because we have partnerships with local non-profits that provide quality internships,” she said. “For example, one of our trainees had been unemployed for three years and had not worked in the clerical field for five years.”
That trainee completed an internship in the clerical field. While she was interning, she was able to improve her computer skills and develop a recent work history.
“At the end of her internship she was hired by a local hospital as a medical support assistant earning $15.94 an hour,” Jacobson said.
Judy Sengewald, one of the agency’s trainees, said it is possible to learn new skills and have an opportunity to gain employment going through Mature Services.
“It can be intimidating trying to get work when you are older,” she said. “But Mature Services does a great job of helping older people who want to get in the workforce.”
For more information about Mature Services, call 513-924-0103 or visit www.matureservices.org.