Since 1980, Casa Central has been helping older adults find stable employment through the 55 and Better program. Monday through Friday, participants in the program receive 20 hours of on-the-job, subsidized training in childcare, kitchen, housekeeping or maintenance work. In addition to gaining experience in their field, participants receive workforce development trainings and one-on-one instruction regarding job applications, financial literacy and building their resume.
For Patricia, a 55 and Better participant, re-entering the workforce was challenging. She worked as a nanny for three years before the family decided to move out of state. When looking for new employment, a member of her community suggested that she visit Casa Central to help her with her search. Once enrolled in the 55 and Better program, Patricia began working in Casa Central’s Early Learning Academy and her self-esteem grew as she gained the respect of her supervisors and teachers. “Patricia came in and knew exactly what needed to be done,” Lillian Medina, the Director of the Early Learning Academy says.
During her time at the Early Learning Academy, Patricia learned about working with young children. “I learned about nutrition, how to take care of children’s health, what to do in cases of accidents,” Patricia says. In addition to gaining experience, Patricia also frequently met with Yesenia Beltran, a Case Manager with the 55 and Better program, to prepare herself to re-enter the workforce.
“She was on top of her game,” Yesenia Beltran says. “We would often meet 3-4 times a week to complete job applications.” For many older adults, finding a job can be hard. In addition, many 55 and Better participants are monolingual Spanish-speakers in need of further assistance to help overcome language or cultural barriers during the job search process. “It was difficult [for Patricia,]” Yesenia says, “but she never gave up. She never lost motivation looking for a job with good pay, something with benefits.”
Soon, Patricia left her position at the Early Learning Academy for a full time position as a nanny. She has since transitioned to new employment at a daycare center but still keeps in touch with the 55 and Better program. She came back to Casa Central to receive mandated reporter training and food handler training, both of which were required for her job at the daycare center. “We sadly had to say goodbye to Patricia,” Lillian says. “But we celebrated that she obtained a permanent job.”
Since July 2016, three 55 and Better participants have gone on to find permanent employment, while more than half of the 23 program participants have secured job interviews. We are proud of Patricia and all 55 and Better participants as they work to obtain stable employment.
Read more about our 55 and Better Program and other stories in our Winter 2017 Micronoticias.