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MUSKOGEE, Okla. – This year’s commemoration of Veteran’s Day is a reminder that many U.S. veterans are still unemployed. Experience Works is providing the tools older veterans need to succeed.  

“It’s about making sure older workers have the skills and confidence to compete in today’s workforce. Retirement just isn’t an option for the people we serve.” says Experience Works CEO Sarah Biggers.

Experience Works used the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) to put Vietnam veteran Harvey Borchardt on a path to a new career. He started with a paid community service assignment as an archivist and grant writer at the USS Batfish Submarine and Military Museum. 

Then, acting on a job lead from Experience Works’ staff, he was hired as a veteran customer representative for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Muskogee, Okla.

‘Enrolling in the program opened doors to opportunities that I never knew existed,” says the 67-year-old Borchardt. Still working in this position, he has not only topped minimum wage, but is earning more than the median income for the area.

SCSEP is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor and targets low-income people age 55 and older who have difficulty finding jobs. Participants earn minimum wage while updating their skills in community service assignments at local public and nonprofit organizations. Other benefits include access to computer and customized training, jobs clubs, and job search assistance.

Borchardt, like so many others, dropped out of the workforce to care for aging parents. A few years later, it was a different economy and he struggled to find work. In the interim, he hoped to increase his employability by earning a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from Northeastern State University. That still didn’t help. After sending out more than 200 resumes with no responses, he reached out to Experience Works for help.

Experience Works is a national nonprofit operating in 30 states and Puerto Rico. For more information, or to find out if services are available in your community call toll free 866-EXP-WRKS or visit www.experienceworks.org.

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