Development center helps seniors find work and pay the bills

According to research done by North Dakota State University, 21 percent of seniors 65 and older are currently working, and that number is only looking to go up with the growing senior population.

However, a job that was right for someone when they were young doesn’t quite fit them when they get older.

Robert Tucci is a 64-year-old Dickinson resident, who is looking for employment to cover his medical bills and other expenses, but he said the search hasn’t been easy.

“I only went to a few. I’m 64- years- old and not healthy. So nobody is interested unless you can do a bunch of labor or work,” said Tucci.

He has a heart condition and has been unemployed for some time, but thanks to North Dakota Senior Career Development in Dickinson he is developing some new skills to add to his resume.

” I have been working on getting on the computer, running the computer, setting up e-mails, and a little bit of typing,” said Tucci

Lyle Koller, who is the state director of the North Dakota Senior Career Development, said the program offers assistance in job training and job placement, for seniors 55 years of age and older who are within the poverty level.

“Medical goes up. Insurance covers less and less. More and more payment there. Utilities go up. If you are on a fixed income you need a little bit to supplement it,” said Koller.

 Participants in the program have an opportunity to get hands on training at non -profit organizations like the NDSU Extension Research Center in Dickinson, and the beauty of it is they get paid while they train.

“”It is minimum wage but it is something. That way you are not just out there on your own looking for a job. It’s 20 hours a week average,” said Koller.

Tucci said if it wasn’t for the programs and its assistance he would “be living in his car”.

The North Dakota Senior Development program operates in 23 counties and is opening a training site in Bismarck and Fargo next week.

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