Blogging in Place

Hire Me! Program Helps Seniors Find Part-Time Work

Sep 08 2014

Paul Franklin of the NAIPC Greater Charleston, South Carolina Chapter knows the challenges that seniors in his community face. As a Reverse Mortgage Professional, Paul sees the struggles of seniors every day.

One of the most prevalent problems plaguing seniors, Paul began to notice, was not having enough income to pay for monthly expenses. For some of his clients, the difference between making it and breaking the bank was as little as a couple hundred dollars a month.

Paul wanted to find a way to help some of these seniors bridge the financial gap.

With the help of his colleague, Patti Stanford, Business Services Coordinator at Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina, they came up with an idea: develop a program tailored to help mature adults find employment in the community. They called the program “Hire Me!”

Patti’s work with Goodwill focuses on helping veterans and those with disabilities find jobs in the community, so she has connections with good, local employers. She got the ball rolling. She reached out to her network. She scheduled a roundtable session. And she gathered information. What were local employers looking for in employees? What skill sets were they seeking? Would they be interested in hiring seniors?

The response was unanimous. The local employers were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea. They saw a lot of value in such an initiative. Mature adults are dependable. They have strong work ethics. They have a wealth of experience.

Patti and Paul had buy-in from local employers. The next step was to gauge the level of interest of seniors in the community. Would they want to go back to work, even part-time? Were these the types of jobs they’d be interested in?

They planned an event, but they started small. They brought together one of the interested companies, Target, with members of a senior center in Mt. Pleasant over coffee and donuts. The Executive Director of Human Resources of the local Target along with four other team members conducted a presentation on employment at Target: the work environment, the types of available positions, the pay rates, and schedules.

Sixteen seniors attended the event. Every single one filled out an employment application with Target. Nine of the seniors were hired and are still employed at Target. Nine seniors who have, in a dignified and empowered manner, bridged their monthly financial gaps.

Patti and Paul plan to expand the program and hold similar events across the region. They want to get more employers involved and form relationships with more senior centers. They’re working to survey seniors in various communities, because a big piece of the puzzle is gauging the level of interest of the seniors and determining the type of work seniors are interested in.

The Hire Me! program is still in the pilot stages, but has already yielded such positive results. It’s helping seniors. It’s helping employers. And it’s helping the Greater Charleston community.

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