MERS Goodwill in St. Louis offers many opportunities to volunteer and gain useful work experience. Although MERS Goodwill targets people of all ages and backgrounds, one of its most successful programs is its Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
The Senior Community Service Employment Program
The SCSEP is a federally funded program that MERS Goodwill administers in the St. Louis area. Since 1965, the Title V Older Americans Act has authorized the creation and implementation of jobs, training, and community service work for people over the age of 55.
The programs that MERS Goodwill offers specifically target people 55 years old or older who wish to develop new work-related skills. These people typically come from low-income areas and have worked in a single job field for their entire working career.
The lack of work variety often leads to a job that has little to no career growth or opportunity to learn new skills. The people who experience lay-offs and unemployment are then unmarketable to a large portion of the work force as they have very minimal amounts of experience.
Gaining Experience through Volunteering
Many of the skill-development opportunities that MERS Goodwill offers include volunteer work. Volunteering at non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other community-improvement operations can present a variety of skill-development opportunities that a single job would not call for.
For example, volunteers may need to work with customer service, data entry, filing, taking inventory, restocking shelves or carrying merchandise from the store room to the main floor, reception services, and secretarial work. A few weeks spent volunteering for several organizations could offer skill development that would take months working several different full-time jobs.
The Placement and Training Process
When MERS Goodwill sets up volunteer experiences for people in the SCSEP, they ensure that each volunteer pairs up with an employee or supervisor so that each person receives individualized training. Individualized attention and one-on-one skill development helps volunteers build up each skill quickly and it also creates a safe environment for the volunteers to ask questions and receive the attention they need.
The goal of each volunteer process is to open up new job opportunities for unemployed and under-qualified individuals who want to get back out in the work force. This program aids people in the preparation for real jobs while also benefiting the community in the process.
Each worker receives a job developer that assists each volunteer in the job-search process, and this assistance includes resume and interview coaching lessons.
MERS Goodwill wants to help people struggling to find jobs and receive the skill-development training that they need get back into the work force. If you or someone you know wants to develop new working skills, contact us today!