Thanks To Jobs Network, Seniors Have Connections

March 12, 1992|By Donna Weaver | Donna Weaver,Staff writer

Sometimes, it doesn't pay to look for potential employees in the help-wanted pages.

Vicki Rutkowski knows that.

A marketing representative for Miracle Services Inc., a Hanover janitorial firm, Rutkowski has spent time and money placing employmentads in local newspapers, with little success.

"We've had a real time finding good workers who are willing to work flexible hours," Rutkowski said. "Many of our contracts call for working two hours a day,or two hours in the evening, or three hours three days a week."

Then, she discovered the Senior Job Network, a 2-year-old program thatconnects seniors looking for part-time work with business owners searching for employees.

Created by Dianne Turpin, director of the county Department of Aging's Senior Referral Service, the network meetsmonthly, except August and December. Each month, Turpin invites two business representatives to describe their companies and job opportunities. Usually, the meetings draw 25 to 30 seniors.

Rutkowski spoke to a group of about 25 seniors in January. She was quite impressed.

"I found this energy that I don't find when I talk to high schoolstudents," she said. "These people have a lot of experience, too. And they were very eager."

She hired one man to clean a Glen Burnie building five nights a week. She also kept five other seniors' resumes for future work.

Miracle Services is one of several businesses that have become believers in the network program.

That doesn't surprise Turpin.

"It's an easy afternoon for employers," she said. "They can step out of their office for two hours in the afternoon. Theytell them about their business. It's effortless, and it's good advertising."

Turpin created the program as a response to Hire the Older Worker Week 1990, a national program that honors senior employees. This week, she's celebrating the program's second anniversary and Hire the Older Worker Week 1992.

The program fits nicely into her Senior Employment Referral Service, which refers seniors looking for work to businesses needing employees. She produces a monthly newsletter listing about 30 part-time jobs.

"We're putting businesses and job-seekers together in a very real way," she said.

Typical businesses involved in the network and referral programs are small organizations that need broad expertise and flexibility, Turpin said. Most employers pay $5 to $7 an hour and need employees who can work 20 to 35 hours a week.

The hours and pay may not seem enticing to younger people, but many seniors love it.

Irwin Marks, for example, needed a part-time job to put his son through college. Marks, of Annapolis, had retired 1 1/2 years ago from Community Rehabilitation Services, where he had worked as a life skills trainer. He's receiving a pension and Social Security.

"I have the benefits. I just want the money," said Marks, 62.

Through the referral service, Marks found a job with the county Health Department as a recruiter. He started last week.

He believes the network program is an "excellent idea."

The network meetings are "places to go and hear what (jobs) somebody else has tried," he said.

Betty Hill of Annapolis is volunteer hostess at the network meetings. Like Marks, she thinks the network program isgreat for seniors.

"Networking is an important service, because senior citizens have a lot to offer by way of employment," said Hill, 67.

The next network meeting is planned for April 13 in Glen Burnie. The network group meets from 2:30 to 4 p.m. every second Tuesday.

Information: Turpin, 222-7011.

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