‘Experience Works’ is working in Rockdale

By MARIE BAKKEN
Reporter Staff Writer

Experienced workers in the Rockdale area now have an opportunity to earn a little income with the Experience Works program. This is ideal for persons age 55 plus.

Local Experience Works coordinator Earnestine Keener and assistant Mickie Musgrave serve Milam, Burleson and Falls counties. Area residents currently placed through Experience Works have been with the program anywhere from a couple of weeks to two years.

If qualified, Experience Works can offer people 55 years of age or older temporary part-time work and assist in finding permanent employment. Experience Works also helps receive the training needed to upgrade your job skills.

“The training was very helpful because I was able to learn something besides what I already know,” said Mar y Ware, an Experience Works participant.

Some local businesses who hired Experience Works trainees include t he Work forc e Center, Multi-Service (Senior Citizens) Center, Health and Human Services office at One Stop Center, Head Start, Love and Learning Day Care Center, the City of Rockdale and Lucy Hill Patterson Library.

Nancy Madsen, a representative from US Congressman John Carter’s office, visited with participants in the local Experience Works program last week during a scheduled stop in Rockdale. At top, Madsen visits with the participants. Above, with Madsen (front, left) area Experience Works participants Brenda Burks, Brenda Meuth, Judy White, (back row) JoAnn Lambright, Shirley Cavazos, John Hogan, Mickie Musgrave (Experience Works assistant), Linda Rekart, Steve Hix, Mary Ware, Ernestine Keener, Experience Works coordinator. Nancy Madsen, a representative from US Congressman John Carter’s office, visited with participants in the local Experience Works program last week during a scheduled stop in Rockdale. At top, Madsen visits with the participants. Above, with Madsen (front, left) area Experience Works participants Brenda Burks, Brenda Meuth, Judy White, (back row) JoAnn Lambright, Shirley Cavazos, John Hogan, Mickie Musgrave (Experience Works assistant), Linda Rekart, Steve Hix, Mary Ware, Ernestine Keener, Experience Works coordinator. Melanie Todd, library director, said the two Experience Works employees she hired has had a very positive impact.

“We have really benefitted with the us being able to do certain programs at the library. It is a winning situation,” Todd said.

Participants work 20 hours a week on a temporary basis and have to keep up an active account on the Work In Texas website.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act as well as state and local grants, enables them to help thousands of lower income individuals, ages 55 and older, throughout the U.S.

Through this program, seniors benefit from training, counseling and communit y service assignments at faithbased and community organizations in their communities, prior to transitioning into the workforce.

As part of his District 31 Outreach Program, US Congressman John Carter (Rep.) sends representatives out into the counties he serves to hear feedback.

Last week, Nancy Madsen from Congressman Carter’s office met with almost all of the Experience Works participants from the Rockdale area and was highly impressed with the program’s success.

“I am excited to see everyone learning something new through this tough transition in the computer age,” Madsen said.”

Experience Works operates the largest SCSEP program, ser v ing more t han 29,000 seniors a year, primarily in rural counties in 38 states and Puerto Rico. These senior workers contributed an estimated 16 million hours of service to more than 10,000 nonprofit and public organizations.

The total income received by Experience Works participants exceeded $85 million. This income provided a valuable economic benefit in more than 2,000 counties, most of them rural.

Participants are placed at eligible host agencies (primarily at faith-based and community organizations) for which they are paid the minimum wage for an average of 20 hours per week.

To be eligible for the Experience Works program, persons:

• Must be 55 years of age or older and a resident of the state where he or she is enrolled in the SCSEP program;

• Annual family income must not be more than 125 percent of the established federal poverty income guidelines;

• Be eligible to work in the United States.

For more information about the seminar, contact Musgrave at 512-446-4000. For more information on the Experience Works program, call 800-460-8801, ext. 2003.


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