“More than anything, I want the opportunity to work again,” says Patty Blevins, SCSEP participant at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA in Fort Wayne.
After being sidelined with a disability several years ago, Patty feels like she has been given a second chance with Catholic Charities’ Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). After many years of steady employment at places such as Indiana Bank, ITT and GTE, Patty is back on her feet and in training for what she hopes will lead to a steady job.
SCSEP is the only federal job training program focused exclusively to provide jobs and training to low-income older adults 55 and older. Participants in the program earn $7.25/hour at their part-time job training placements at non-profits or government agencies. This Catholic Charities program currently serves Adams, Allen DeKalb, Huntington, Wabash, and Whitley counties.
SCSEP case managers support older adults by working with them to identify their unique interests, needs, barriers and overall employment goals. Participants are supported in their journey toward employment by being offered resource and referral services, financial literacy training, job coaching, job clubs and job readiness activities such as resume updating, mock interviews, and job search assistance.
Patty put a lot of effort into this process and was therefore matched with a great job training opportunity at the YMCA.
The YMCA has been an excellent supporter of this Catholic Charities program. They are committed to collaborating with Catholic Charities to provide highly beneficial job training opportunities as well as employment assistance to these valuable, loyal and experienced older adults.
Patty’s immediate supervisor is Graylin Howard, a long-time YMCA employee and supervisor of the maintenance department. Graylin has worked with many SCSEP participants over the years.
“Patty is excellent,” he says. “She came in with great work skills, a positive attitude and gets along well with everybody. She will definitely have a job as soon as we have an opening.”
Graylin says there are certain benefits to employers that come with SCSEP participants. The first is the longevity of the relationship with Catholic Charities. The SCSEP program and the YMCA have worked together for more than 10 years so they have a very good idea which candidates will work well for their organization. Graylin also says the year-long SCSEP job training assignments give him the opportunity to make a thorough assessment of each candidate prior to offering a permanent position.
“We love to place participants at organizations like the Y,” says SCSEP Program Manager Jennifer Zamaites. “And SCSEP is perfect for people who are recovering from a setback in their life. Currently, 63% of SCSEP participants are disabled like Patty. Many are suffering from depression due to lack of social interaction or purpose. Giving back to their community through SCSEP makes a huge difference. Their job training and ultimately employment often plays a major part in their recovery and I urge participants to treat their job training assignments like a one-year job interview.”
Once Patty becomes employed, Catholic Charities will continue to offer ongoing support for her so she can stay employed.
“[SCSEP] provides the Y with seasoned professionals who are able to come in and hit the ground running,” says Amos Norman, Executive Director of the Renaissance Pointe YMCA. “We are very grateful that many of the workers who come from SCSEP already have the skill sets that allow them to adequately perform their duties.”
Comparing applicants from SCSEP with others they interview, Amos says as a rule SCSEP participants more than meet their many expectations. He adds that the program has brought some really outstanding people to join the Y family.
“Any non-profit that is considering a partnership with Catholic Charities should absolutely jump in head first and capitalize on this great opportunity,” says Amos.
Catholic Charities is always looking for employers and host nonprofit agencies to take on SCSEP participants. For more information, contact Jennifer Zamaites at 260-422-5625 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.