Federal grant assists elders re-enter workforce


The St. Johns County local news desk has been notified by Florida Governor Charlie Crist today that the state received a federal grant of more than $2.9 million to assist Florida elders looking to re-enter the workforce.

Awarded to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the additional grant funds will immediately address unmet needs for employment and job training among Florida’s low-income older workers age 55 and older.

“This grant announcement comes at a time when older Floridians seeking jobs need it most,” Governor Crist said. “Every older worker offers a lifetime of experience and perspective that is an asset to any employer.”

Last year, the department’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) helped more than 1,230 older Floridians expand their skill sets and improve their employment prospects. After completing job training, SCSEP participants are placed in a part-time, community service-based position and then, eventually, a permanent job.

“Older Floridians have a tremendous amount to contribute to our state,” Elder Affairs Secretary E. Douglas Beach said. “Older workers bring experience, dependability and maturity to their jobs, and these qualities benefit us all.”

The new grant will allow SCSEP to serve an additional 200 older Floridians. Last year alone, 160 older workers were able to transition from the program into permanent positions with local organizations. SCSEP is the only federally funded employment and training program focused exclusively on the needs of low-income older persons.

Florida’s share of the U.S. Department of Labor’s additional $225 million for senior employment programs is larger than all states’ except California. Successful grant applicants were chosen based on demonstrated need among the older worker populations they serve, the capacity to immediately and effectively expend the additional funds, and past performance in serving older workers.

Photo credit: © 2010 Historic City News courtesy Council On Aging

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