Everyone wins with senior job program

From July 1 to Sept. 30, 2013, the participants in Mature Alaskans Seeking Skills Training (MASST) performed 25,545 hours in community service statewide while learning skills that helped them find unsubsidized employment.

In the program, qualifying participants are matched with agencies, located all around the state, that are able to train in skills the participant needs to find a job. Participants are trained on how to get a resume ready to apply for a job, where to look for jobs, and how to get into the state's ALEXSys online employment site to post their resume so employers can also find them.

Some seniors find it more difficult to locate unsubsidized employment due to biases toward older workers. This program seeks to enlighten businesses in the many qualities these experienced workers can bring to their workforce.

By training with host agencies the participants are able to demonstrate to employers that they remain a valuable asset to the community and have retained their skills while aging. Employers have come to realize what a valuable asset it is to have a senior employee in their company.

The Committee on Economic Development indicates that employers rate older workers high on characteristics such as judgment, commitment to quality, attendance and punctuality. Today's shifting perceptions of retirement, increased workplace flexibility and the aging of the "baby boomer" generation are all contributing to employers changing the way they think about age and work.

While many people think of older adults as retirees, the truth is millions of Americans age 55 and older work full or part-time jobs every day. Some work to stay active and engaged in their communities but for many it's a matter of necessity to remain financially secure and independent.

Many employers understand the key to success with older employees is to capitalize on their loyalty. For older workers this remains huge. Employers benefit by utilizing the older workers' experience and it saves money by not having to constantly retrain new workers as younger workers may rotate to other jobs more frequently.

Employees age 55 to 65 are the fastest-growing component of the workforce. They represent significant skills and experience that employers value. It is also good for older adults to remain in the workforce. Working at an older age has a positive impact on their health. Older adults working have a lower rate of dying, better health and improved mood than their counterparts who are not working.

One MASST participant recently got a position as an activities fundraiser. After participating in MASST training as an administrative assistant, a program director at the agency noticed how well she was preforming. It was requested that she be allowed to train in this new activities fundraiser position that would be opening soon to see if it would be a good fit. She did well. The position was developed and she was hired.

Another participant was training as a receptionist. When a position as a dishwasher became available, she applied for that and was hired.

In both instances the wage was a substantial improvement for each new employee. So, MASST is a win, win, win, win proposition. A win for the participant with a new job, a win for the host agency by training the participant and getting community service hours, a win for the new employer with a seasoned experienced employee, and a win for the community at large.

If you know someone looking for a job or would benefit from this program yourself, please call your local MASST program, or find information on the state MASST website at http://www.labor.state.ak.us/masst/.

Local MASST program contacts are as follows:


Muldoon Job Center

Robert Barton

1251 Muldoon Road, Suite 111

Anchorage, Alaska 99504

(907) 269-2029 staff or 269-0031 Katheryn Allen Robert Barton 269-0278

Fax (907) 269-5411



Adult Learning Programs of Alaska

Tom Howard

60 Hall Street

Fairbanks, Alaska 99701

(907) 452-6434 ext. 223 or 458-6792

Fax (907) 451-6598


Southeast Alaska

Southeast Regional Resource Center

Susan Bus

210 Ferry Way

Juneau, Alaska 99801

(907) 523-7271 Susan or 523-7226 Wanda

Fax (907) 586-5673


Kenai Peninsula

Jenne Long

50025 Lake Marie Avenue

Nikiski, Alaska 99635

(907) 776-7583 ext. 012 or 776-7588

Fax (907) 776-7632


Mat-Su Valley

Palmer Senior Citizens Center

Rick VanTassel

1132 South Chugach Street

Palmer, Alaska 99645

(907) 761-5038 Rick or 761-5040 Rae

Fax (907) 746-5173


Other Alaska locations

Employment Security Division

Rita Bowen, MASST Statewide Coordinator

1111 West 8th Street, Room 210 or

P.O. Box 115509

Juneau, Alaska 99811-5509

(907) 465-4872

Fax (907) 465-4537


Your referral to one person could be a win, win, win, win.

Jenne Long is a training coordinator for the Mature Alaskans Seeking Skills Training program in Nikiski.

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