Goodwill Program Is Focus Of ‘National Employ Older Americans Week’

Monday, September 18, 2017

The week of Sept. 25-Sept. 29 is “National Employ Older Americans Week.”  Led by the U.S. Department of Labor, the week aims to increase awareness of the older employee segment of the workforce and to develop strategies to tap into the potential held by experienced workers. It also showcases the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which provides on-the-job paid training to people 55 years and older. Since its inception, SCSEP has helped more than one million Americans nationally enter the workforce, according to the Department of Labor.

Chattanooga Goodwill Industries locally administers SCSEP and was just awarded a $714,221 grant from Senior Service America, Inc., for the fourth year in a row.  Almost 90 percent of this grant will provide paid job training to at least 121 low-income older adults living in Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, and Rhea Counties.  SCSEP also helps participants find permanent employment once training ends.

Becky Freeman is the embodiment of how a senior enters the job training program and obtains permanent employment. She had been out of the job market for 15 years due to health issues. But with 27 years of legal-related experience to her credit, she wanted to earn a paycheck. A lack of current skills was one challenge, and that’s where SCSEP can help.

Ms. Freeman, 67, started out as a SCSEP trainee at the United Way of Chattanooga in June 2016.  She was hired by United Way in August 2017 and now works as an administrative assistant.

Ms. Freeman, and others like her, might be surprised to learn they’re on the cutting edge of American workforce demographics.  According to recent statistics, older Americans in the workplace will be more common in the next few years with 25 percent of the civilian workforce being 55 years and older by the year 2020.

SCSEP is now enrolling participants in its six-county service area, with a special focus on signing up residents in Meigs County. Residents should be 55 years or older and be low-income individuals according to federal poverty guidelines. Priority is given to veterans.

Goodwill assesses a qualified individual’s skills and abilities and places him in a short-term position with a nonprofit organization or public agency in the community. Participants gain valuable on-the-job experience and skills while having the chance to work in a professional environment.

Following the short-term phase of paid training, Goodwill helps the participant find a permanent job, often at the agency where he trained or with another employer in the community. That was the case with Becky Freeman. She first worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles before transferring to the United Way’s ‘Neediest Cases’ program.

“SCSEP was a blessing to me,” she said, and she ticks off the skills she has acquired since starting the program: updated computer know-how, ServicePoint, ClientPoint. “It helps people who need an income, but don’t have the confidence or skills to get a job.”

For more information on SCSEP, contact Kimberly Crider at 423 629-2501 or Kimberly.crider@goodwillchatt.org.  



Alexander Says Bipartisan Bill Will Help Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Market, Then Lower Premiums

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced on Tuesday he and Senator Patty Murray (R-Wa.) have reached a short-term deal to offer bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual health insurance market and begin to lower the costs of premiums, so all Americans have access to health insurance. “Our legislation is based on the four bipartisan hearings and ... (click for more)

Richard P. McKenney Joins U.S. Bancorp Board Of Directors

U.S. Bancorp announced Tuesday its Board of Directors has elected Richard P. McKenney as a director of the company, effective immediately.   Mr. McKenney, 48, is the president and chief executive officer of Chattanooga based Unum Group, a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the workplace, including disability, life, dental, and voluntary benefits.  ... (click for more)

State Comptroller Says More Control Over Spending Needed At CVB

The state Comptroller’s Office is recommending the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) board of directors take steps to adopt detailed policies concerning how the CVB spends its money.   The Comptroller’s Office has completed a review of Hamilton County’s hotel/motel taxes which are all forwarded to the CVB. The annual report is required by Public Chapter ... (click for more)

County Commission Votes 7-2 For Rezoning For C&D Landfill At Harrison

The County Commission on Wednesday voted 7-2 to approve rezoning for a Construction and Debris landfill at Harrison.  Voting in favor were Greg Beck, Warren Mackey, Sabrena Smedley, Greg Martin, Tim Boyd, Randy Fairbanks and Jim Fields.   Opposed were Chester Bankston and Joe Graham.  Commissioner Boyd said it was just the first step in permitting for ... (click for more)

Vote No On The Rezoning For A New Landfill In Harrison - And Response (3)

County Commissioners, please consider the following facts when voting on the rezoning request for a new privately-owned C&D landfill in Harrison.  Use of this property for a landfill has been rejected by the county three times in the past (1971, 1984 and 2007).  In 1971 and 2007 the County Commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal.  In 1984 the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Mom Don’t Have…I Do’

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of a five-year-old, particularly one who watches her mom go in and out of jail due to drug addiction. But little Sunshine Oelfke is obviously being raised right by her grandmother because the other morning, the five-year-old came into the kitchen before leaving for kindergarten with a baggie full of coins from her piggy bank. “I asked ... (click for more)