Community Action employment program helps seniors, non-profits

Thursday, September 1, 2005

The Community Action Senior Employment Training Program helps low-income seniors, non-profit organizations and communities in Buena Vista County.

Seniors who are income eligible are placed in a part-time job with a non-profit organization through the help of the Community Action Agency of Siouxland. The salary is subsidized by the federal government. The non-profit organization pledges to provide on-the-job training and supervision to help the senior employee gain skills to find an unsubsidized position. The community benefits from the work done for the non-profit organization as well as the pool of skilled employees that is created.

"This program is a win-win-win situation," Community Action Senior Employment Program Director Cindy Thomas said. "The seniors gain critical income and job skills. Non-profit organizations, which are usually operating with minimal staff, receive an employee. And the community gains a more skilled workforce."

Seniors who are 55 and older may be eligible. The income level for an individual is $11,962.50 per year. The income level for a household of two is $16,037.50. The income level for a household of three is $20,112.50.

"Without this program, I don't know what I would have done," one participant said. "I am now able to afford my diabetic medication, doctor visits, rent and other necessities."

Program participants work in various non-profit organizations, including schools, libraries, social service agencies, hospitals, senior centers and museums. "The work and training boosted my self-esteem," one participant said. "When people tell me they are glad I am working there and appreciate what I do, it makes me feel very good."

The Community Action Senior Employment Training Program is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor. The national program is administered by Senior Service America. The Community Action Agency of Siouxland operates the Senior Employment Training Program in Buena Vista, Cherokee, Lyon, Ida, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury Counties. For more information, contact Cindy Thomas at (712) 274-1610 or 1-800-352-3725.

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