A Program for Seniors Helps them Get Back into the Workforce - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

A Program for Seniors Helps them Get Back into the Workforce

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Retirement is supposed to be the ultimate payoff for those who have worked hard for decades. And yet for many people, work remains a necessity even into older age. Valley News team's Eric Crest shares the story of a federally funded program in both North Dakota and Minnesota that's teaching another generation how obtaining meaningful work is still possible.


For the 55 year-old plus demographic, or even older, finding a job after a short break from the work force can be difficult to say the least.


"There's a difference between the young and the old cause the old one has a lot of experience. Much more than the young fella. But eventually they hire the young people," says Florentino Gonzalez who has graduated from the Experience Works program and is soon to be employed by the Dorothy Day Food Pantry in Moorhead.


Gonzalez's boss, Jim Manly, says he's a huge asset to his team.


"With his energy, aptitude for learning, willingness to try new things, it helps us tremendously," says Manly.


It happened thanks to a federal program called Experience Works. Gonzalez gained some of the skills he needs like computer skills, for no charge.


"They start you from the bottom and they show you how to move the mouse. Simple things you know. Until you get the hang of it," says Gonzalez.


He's not the only one utilizing the service. Jenneh Kromah is currently training through Experience Works help too. So that she can continue working at Job Service North Dakota.


"As long as you are living on the earth there's always room for improvement, always room to learn," says Kromah.


In an ever-changing market place, where new skills are often related to technology. Local Experience Works coordinators say this is just one way for low income seniors to find out how they can get back out there.


"One of the things I like about it is you can really make a difference in people's lives and you can see it," says Deb Trygstad, a Training Coordinator at Experience Works.


"Once they tapped into their skill sets and we've done an assessment with them and they find out what they're capable of doing. Then it opens up a whole new list of opportunities for them," says Craig Aldrich a Training Coordinator on the North Dakota side of Experience Works.


"A friend told me about experience works and when I went and learned and now I help people. They helped me, and now I help people," adds Kromah.


If you want to find out more about the Experience Works program we've included a link to their website at valleynewslive.com


Here are the area's that are waiting for more low-income 55-year-old plus participants to utilize their services.


Trail County


Sargeant County


Ransom County


Steele County


Barnes County


You can contact Experience Works in Minnesota at 1-855-270-9660


Or in North Dakota at 1-877-314-7627


Check out their website at experienceworks.org


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