NEW YORK (Oct. 18, 2019) – Today, the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) held its 19th annual senior employment job fair to help lower-income older New Yorkers rejoin the workforce. Approximately 230 older adults, who completed computer training and career counseling through DFTA, attended the job fair with almost 30 employers.
Participating employers understand and value the unique qualities that older adults have to offer. This year, employers included Citibank, NYU University, Walgreens, New York City government agencies, Cooperative Home Care Associates, and more with diverse employment opportunities such as home health aide, teaching assistant and customer support positions.
"This program provides employment options for older adults who want to remain in the workforce," said DFTA Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. "It also helps combat ageism, in that it exposes corporations to the assets and abilities offered by older workers."
"The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the only program designed specifically for the older worker," said National Council on Aging Director of Program Operations Elizabeth Berke. "People are living longer than ever before and with the cost of living on the rise, many older New Yorkers rely on income from this program."
"After taking the training, I feel like I’m prepared; I learned a lot and am ready to go back into the workforce," said SCSEP Participant Dulce Reynoso-Cruz. "This job fair gave me the opportunity to talk with employers from great companies with a lot of jobs choose from. When I came here, I was a little lost, but this program gave me confidence."
Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), a home care agency based in the Bronx, has participated in the job fair for more than seven years. "Caring for the elderly and disabled can be challenging, but we have found that the mature worker has the experience needed to care for patients and their families in a calm manner, allowing them their dignity," said CHCA Workforce Development Director Lamont Spence. "The loyalty that comes from these referrals is fantastic. We currently employ a 70-year-old from this program who has worked with us for five years; all of her clients love her and respect how she treats the patients and families."
Older adults are faced with tremendous hurdles when rejoining the changing and fast-paced workforce. Through its paid training program, DFTA’s Senior Employment Services Unit (SESU) provides classes on computers, resume-writing, interviewing, and more. There are currently 45 older adults in the training program.
Last year, 72 participants were successfully matched with jobs. While participants explore job opportunities, they have the option to gain occupational experience as paid, part-time Community Service Aides for up to four years. There are currently 380 active Community Service Aides.
SESU, a part of the federal SCSEP, has placed older workers in jobs at more than 300 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private-sector companies. For more information about DFTA’s Senior Employment Services Unit, call 311 or 212-602-6958.
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The New York City Department for the Aging works to eliminate ageism and ensure the dignity and quality of life of New York City’s diverse 1.6 million older adults. DFTA also works to support caregivers through service, advocacy, and education. DFTA is the largest area agency on aging in the U.S.