Experience Works is looking for citizens 55 or older who are on a limited or low-income for job training and community assignments – and they pay.

The senior community service employment program is part of the U.S. Department of Labor and is intended to get older citizens experience in today’s work settings through assignments at governmental entities and non-profit organizations.

Experience Works places qualifying applicants in six-month assignments – not jobs – that best match the individual participants. Employment and Training Assistant Debbie Emerson said the program also offers skills training, like basic computer training.

Host agencies throughout the county include the Workforce Center, the City of Strawn, Addiction Recovery Ministries, Meals on Wheels of Palo Pinto County, Boyce Ditto Library, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Mineral Wells Senior Center, Pecan Valley Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Hope Inc and Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Emerson and Garnette Blanton, who serves as employment and training coordinator over six counties, emphasize that the program exists to benefit the individual participant.

“Our goal is to get that person ready to be employable,” said Blanton.

“We focus on that participant and focus on what they need to get a job in today’s market,” Emerson said.

However, both stressed that benefits for the host agencies and potential employers are that the participants not only receives more up-to-date training, but they are a little more dependable and not looking for bigger and better things and they are willing to work part-time without employment benefits.

Duties could range from working front and center or behind the scenes, doing such jobs as filing, going to court, cashier, computer work, cleaning and shelving books and intake, to name a few.

Emerson said an added bonus is the assignments “also gives our participants something new to put on their resume.”

Blanton added that the program not only gives participants skills, “it gives them self confidence.”

Sometimes, the Experience Works assignment turns into a permanent job, just ask her. Emerson said her position came from her post-retirement assignment with the program. Emerson works out of the Mineral Wells Workforce Center and is dedicated to the county. She cited many local success stories.

“We need different types of training for our participants,” said Emerson, adding that they are also looking for non-profit, 501(c)3 host agencies that might have potential assignments.

For more information on Experience Works, contact Debbie Emerson at (940) 329-1009 or Texas Workforce Solutions at (940) 325-2595.

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