Community Services Agency Helps Older Workers Get Work

By Lee Hubbard Getting a job can be a job for many people today.  For workers who are over the age of 55, obtaining a job today can be a Herculean task. That however can now change with Senior Community Services Employment Program in San Francisco and Marin, which is a program of the National Council of Aging. Nearly 200 people have found hope in the program, with its offices at the Visitation Valley Community Development Corporation at 1999 Sunnydale Avenue. “The older population is often disenfranchised by lay-offs and many of them don’t have current resumes and haven’t been in the job market for years,” said Al Gilbert the Chief Operating Officer, of the Senior Community Services Employment Program. “See-Sep provides older adults with skill retooling, resume support, job readiness support and training directed at putting them to work.” The See-Sep program works by placing the older employees with a private or non-profit employer in a part-time capacity for 20 hours a week. The older employees are paid by US Department of Labor for a term of no more than 4 years.  If the employer likes the employee, they can then hire the employee. “This is a program meant for employers to recognize and find good employees,” said Gilbert. The average term of the hire is eighteen months and several employees have been hired on a permanent basis, at various stages of the program.  Priority is given to clients over 60, veterans and qualified spouses of veterans, those who have the greatest economic need.  It also benefits minority, limited English-speaking and Indians who meet the criteria. “Family Service Agency of San Francisco has made SCSEP more accessible by being housed in the Visitation Valley Development Corporation,” said Malia Cohen, the supervisor for District 10, which encompasses Visitation Valley. “The program will help older workers in our entire district improve their opportunity for new jobs.” The program has helped close to 200 older adults over 55.  One of the reasons it has been successful according to Roxanne Murray, Director of the Program, is that it targets the needs of those looking for work and the kind of jobs they are looking for. “One of the first things we do is conduct an economic security check  up.  It’s a way to get to the core of the problems and barriers that a client is facing,” said Murray. “As a result we can jump start an older worker’s job search.” One of the people the Family Services Agency has put to work is Warren Stewart. The 85-year old can be seen at the Visitation Valley office as a staffer working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Since the Family Service Agency is now in the Now in the Southeast section of San Francisco, the 120-year old Family Service Agency’s will be accessible to an underserved community. “We want to make sure we are giving everyone equal access to the services that have been created for their benefit,” said Gilbert. “A city can only be as strong as its weakest link.  FSA wants to strengthen the great talent in the Southeast sector that has faced many challenges to its success.” For more information on the program contact Roxanne Murray at 415 982-7007 ex. 11 or email her at Rectangle Ribbon
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