Operation ABLE Helps Mature Workers Return to the Workforce Through Community Service Assignments

Helping Mature Workers Return to the Workforce Through Community Service Assignments

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Nancy Reddiker was a Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) participant at Operation ABLE last year.  She says, “I am proud to say that I now receive an annual salary and am economically self-sufficient. I am so grateful Operation ABLE exists!”

Reddiker faced the feeling many older workers have that they need to update the skills required to be competitive in today’s marketplace at a time when they urgently need to re-enter the workforce.  A recent Needs Assessment Survey asked older adults what was blocking their job search success.  Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents named ageism, 51% named skills and 41% named lost connections as their barriers. Conducted jointly by Encore Boston Network, 50+ Job Seekers in MA, and the Boston College School of Social Work, those surveyed often said “I like work and need to work financially.”

Operation ABLE celebrated its 40th anniversary this year as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and is proud to have helped thousands of older workers find employment through SCSEP since the early 90’s. Participants gain skills, experience and confidence using the steppingstone of paid internships where they work & train for 20 hours per week in local nonprofits and government agencies.  Operation ABLE Case Managers and Trainers, who themselves often re-entered work through SCSEP, provide upskilling and job counseling that the participant can use in their training site and job search.

Nancy Reddiker says, “I was able to update my computer skills through my internship, and through the course of the pandemic, I also gained new skills in working remotely.  It’s very important to have in today’s world of ZOOM, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams. In June 2021 I was hired by my host agency, the Metro South/West Career Center in Norwood, where I was always welcomed, and encouraged throughout my training.

SCSEP Director Deborah Delman says, “Nancy’s  success is a credit to her spirit and to the effort she put in.  And I’m happy to report that she’s in good company.”  Host Agencies sign an agreement with Operation ABLE to seriously consider hiring the person into a staff position.  “Our Case Managers are eager to keep the topic of hiring on the table with supervisors and other potential employers.”  Training assignments, which are based on assessments and an Individual Employment Plan (IEP), include Office and Administrative Support, Community and Social services, Hospitality, Customer Service, and specialized roles the participant and case manager seek out based on the participant’s interests and skills. 

SCSEP is the nation’s oldest employment program for seniors. Authorized under the Older Americans Act in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, it continues as a U.S. Department of Labor-funded program to respond to high poverty rates and a rapidly increasing ageing population.

Operation ABLE’s SCSEP program serves 5 north eastern counties in Massachusetts and 8 out of 10 counties in New Hampshire.  “The SCSEP team here at Operation ABLE is inspiring,” said Deb, “working closely with nonprofits and motivated older job seekers is a win/win for all of us.”

If you are a job seeker age 55+ and looking for employment, this program may be the one for you. Click here for more information: https://operationable.net/scsep/

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