In May, Gov. Ted Strickland formed the Ohio Senior Civic Engagement Council. He said, “Older adults will play a major role in Ohio’s economic success for the next several years. The Council will work to keep them active and engaged in their communities and careers, as well as help employers prepare for changing workforce needs.”
Recently my application to serve on the employment sub-committee for the Ohio Senior Civic Engagement Council was accepted. I must agree with what the governor said, however, I say only if we foster an environment for this to happen.
Serving Our Seniors recently completed a needs-study of Erie County’s older adult population ages 65-75 and Erie County’s soon-to-be senior citizen population, those who are 55-62. This is what we know about our current senior citizens.
- 23 percent want to work, but are not working.
- The average senior citizen would like to work about 20 hours per week.
- Of that 23 percent who wants to work, a small number are willing to work as an unpaid volunteer.
- 20 percent have a current resume.
- 21 percent believe they need training for them to become employable.
- 48 percent said they need computer training.
- 26 percent said they need electronic cash register training.
- 14 percent said “other.”
- 12 percent said confidence building.
The No. 1 ranking preference for learning about job openings is through “Serving Our Seniors” (which is odd because we have never marketed ourselves as an employment service) and second is the newspaper. The other sources of job leads that ranked lower with senior citizens was word of mouth, mailed brochure, employment bureau and internet.
These answers from Erie County’s mature population were returned in July 2008 -- before the economic downturn.
My hunch is that this 23 percent who said they wanted work in July 2008 is much higher today.