When Cheryl Morrison applied to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), she had been unemployed for more than two years and struggling to live on her social security. Having moved to Myrtle Beach from Massachusetts, Cheryl states that the culture shock of moving to the South was a lot to deal with along with the stress of not being able to find work.
When she first relocated, Cheryl was confident that her work experience would land her a job in no time. Her experience included working as an executive secretary for the Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts, she had a B.S. in Education, and a LPN Nursing Degree, yet no one would hire her. She soon realized it was her age (being over 65) that was holding her back, experiencing the discrimination that mature workers feel when applying for work first hand.
Full of life and intelligent, Cheryl refused to give up. While shopping in a Palmetto Goodwill thrift store in Myrtle Beach, she saw a flier about the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP) and immediately called to learn more. After her call to the SCSEP staff, Cheryl states that “suddenly, I was not alone! I had an ally in SCSEP and Ms. Valentine, my Service Coordinator, and I knew that SCSEP would assist me with employment.”
Thanks to a $16.2 million grant to Goodwill Industries International from the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this year, older job seekers in South Carolina have the opportunity to get critical job training and employment services through the SCSEP. Palmetto Goodwill is helping older job seekers learn new job skills while training at organizations such as housing agencies, food banks, libraries, schools, senior centers and child care centers. The goal is that they will take the skills they learn in the program to gain employment in the private or public sector for which wages, or wages and tips, are paid that equal or exceed the federal hourly minimum wage.
When older job seekers come to Palmetto Goodwill, job coaches deliver thorough needs assessments, create individual employment plans, administer basic skills classes and assist in job placement, training and eventual transition to non-subsidized employment. Goodwill’s SCSEP effort has helped more than 8,502 older workers in local communities since 2006.
Cheryl is currently assigned at one of the many SCSEP Host Agencies in Horry County at The Center for Counseling and Wellness and is working now as a SCSEP trainee as an Office Assistant working part-time. Cheryl loves the people at the Center for Counseling and Wellness and the work. Importantly, her confidence is high again that she will find competitive employment outside of the SCSEP Program. Along with training at her Host Agency site, Cheryl is engaged in continuing her computer skills with online training courses offered through Palmetto Goodwill.