Senior Employment Program Helping People Get Hired

Updated: February 19, 2020 05:40 PM

Sometimes finding work can feel like an impossible mountain to climb. Especially if you're older and have been out of the workforce. But there is help out there, in the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

Funded by the federal government, the program helps between 60 and 80 people each year. People like Desire Singer. She loves her job as a receptionist at SOAR Career Solutions. "I like the work environment here," she told us. "I"m definitely a people person."

She actually interned at SOAR first. That training is part of the program. "To get paid as an intern, that was awesome!" she remembered. 

Along with encouragement and help honing skills, there is also assistance with housing and food. That can be life changing.

Paul Travaglione knows first hand. "The Senior Employment Program provided stability in my life," he said.

He'd been on a rough road of divorce, disability, unemployment, and hunger. "Sometimes the world is cruel," he said, choking up. But the program helped him tackle one barrier at a time. 

He now works part time as a custodian at St. Michael's Church in Lakeside. "I started in July of 2019," he said. "I want to make people feel welcomed, and promote my faith."

It's given him peace of mind and a sense of belonging. Singer feels the same. "I've actually had the opportunity to comfort one of the clients who came in. They were totally broken. And I was able to comfort them," she said.

She's grateful for the extra support from the program, having moved here from the Twin Cities five years ago. 

With workforce shortages across our region, employers are looking at older adults like Singer and Travaglione, because they can bring experience, wisdom, and strength. And they may be even more grateful, for the opportunity.

"Believe in the goodness of the world," Travaglione said. "There are lots of people out there to help you."

For more information about the program, call 218-730,5221

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