As the holidays approach and most people look forward to taking time off from work to spend with their families, millions of older adults are asking for one important gift this year – a job.
New data from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) shows that older workers employed through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provide exceptional skills, productivity, and experience to employers looking to fill temporary and part-time positions. At the same time, SCSEP helps older workers gain critical skills that can lead to permanent employment.
Funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, NCOA’s SCSEP program matches eligible older Americans aged 55+ with training and part-time jobs for community service organizations through 27 offices in 11 states. In the 2010-11 program year, over 6,000 older adults were served by NCOA, providing over 4 million hours of community service. Upon completion of the training program, 62.4% of participants were placed into permanent employment.
On average, older adults employed through NCOA’s SCSEP program earned over $7,200, which, when combined with other benefits, served as a lifeline for these struggling older adults, many of whom are one step away from economic crisis.
According to a report released earlier this year by the Congressional Research Service, once they have lost a job, one out of eight (12%) older Americans are more likely than any other age group to remain out of work for 99 weeks or more. Many have spent almost two years looking for work, considerably higher than the 6% figure among unemployed workers under age 35. Additional data comes from a recent AARP report on unemployment, found here.
“New data released December 15 by the U.S. Labor Department shows the unemployment rate dropping in the U.S. and while this is great new, it’s not necessarily true for older workers,” said Sandra Nathan, senior vice president for economic security at NCOA. “Thousands of older adults are still seeking employment today.
Their skills and experience can be a welcome addition to employers struggling to find qualified applicants, and we hope to connect thousands more mature workers with employers in 2012.”