"Experience Works" senior job program faces budget cuts

By: Jalah Gray Email
By: Jalah Gray Email

DENISON, TX - A program that helps senior citizens get back into the workforce is facing budget cuts that could lead to cuts in income for the seniors who take part.

The program is called "Experience Works."
In a time when more seniors are coming out of retirement just to survive it's a win win situation.
Using funding from the state, they take senior citizens who need to work, and place them in jobs at non profit organizations, like Red Cross.
But the program could lose more funding this year.

Twylla Anderson works at Red Cross, thanks to the Experience Works program.

"I was trying to find a job and I hadn't worked in a while, and experience helped me get somewhere to have some training, because all I did was plant work and I wanted to do something different." said Anderson.

She says she had to get a job after 10 years of being out of the workforce, but she needed to learn some new skills.

"I've learned a lot about the office and I'm still learning every day something about it." Anderson said.

And the Red Cross says they're happy to provide that on the job training.

"It provides us man power that is hugely needed at no cost to us, from day one she jumped in and whatever needed to be done she was glad to do it, she's gone above and beyond in taking our disaster training, so that she can better respond you know with questions." said Jim Durham of Red Cross Texoma.

State Manager, Cheryl Young, says by learning new skills, seniors can enter the job market, more confident.
She says this is important because many seniors these days cannot live on social security alone.

"It's just not enough to buy food and medication, and I would say 75 percent of our people would have to make a choice between eating and education, so they have to go back to work." Young said.

Young says the experience works program could face deep budget cuts this year, which could decrease workers' hours.

"It's an important program for us that we would hate to see go away." Durham said.

"The agency is a non profit, they're benefiting from having this older worker and they're providing valuable on the job training that we're paying for, so it's kind of a full circle." said Young.

Last year the state cut the budget by 45%.
Young says in July they'll compete for a grant from the Department of Labor to keep the program going.

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