MEO receives $211,226 grant for senior employment program

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September 20, 2021
A Maui Economic Opportunity program that provides on-the-job training for Maui County seniors and is currently seeking applicants has received a $211,226 federal grant that runs through June 2022.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) was established by the federal Older American Act for income eligible seniors, 55 years or older, who are unemployed. Priority is given to veterans and qualified spouses and persons with disabilities, limited literacy and English language proficiency and at-risk for homelessness or homeless.

Participants work an average of 20 hours a week and are paid the state minimum wage. Program training and work experience serve as a bridge to a regular paying job.

This announcement comes as National Employ Older Workers Week began this week, running through Saturday, Sept. 25. The theme of the week is “The Future is NEOWW!” and encourages employers to hire older workers who have shown they have the experience to thrive in the current workforce – even amid a pandemic.

MEO’s program that helps seniors gain employment received final grant approval in June from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, the agency that manages the grant for the state. It is for the two-year period that began in June 2020.

In July, MEO had 17 participants in the program. They were placed at MEO Community Services and Transportation departments, Hale Mahaolu facilities and Maui Adult Day Care Centers.

Audrey, who only wished to be identified by her first name, is a recent success story, who enrolled in the program and was placed as an aide at Maui Adult Day Care Centers – Ocean View Center at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center. She lost her job at the airport due to the pandemic.

In addition to SCSEP, Audrey also was enrolled in MEO’s Employment Services Program, part of the nonprofit’s “one-stop” array of assistance.

Audrey’s hard work culminated in three offers and a full-time job at a Kihei retailer. MEO assisted her in shopping for work clothes in September.

She credits MEO and Carmelei Leano in SCSEP and Jan Cerizo in the Employment Services Program for their support and encouragement on her employment journey.

“MEO has really been good to me,” Audrey said.

The SCSEP program currently is accepting applicants. For more information, contact Leano at 249-2970.

Melinda Clarke, a Senior Community Service Employment Program worker, answers the phone at Maui Economic Opportunity.

Senior Community Service Employment Program worker Corinne Nakashima was assigned at Hale Mahaolu Ekolu. She is shown coming to Maui Economic to pick up work and interview clothes.

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