Susan Jepson

Director
National Senior Network
http://www.nationalable.org/

About Member:

Susan has over 30 years of work experience in workforce development and helping people find jobs.  With a sociology degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Suffolk University, Susan is currently working on a Master’s of Science in Regional Economics and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Susan was a key member of the work group that developed a successful proposal for the first One-Stop Career Center in Boston in 1995, Boston Career Link. In 2003, she began focusing on older workers with the Senior Community Service Employment Program through a grant funded by the National Able Network.  In 2009, Susan became the State Director for the National Senior Network, SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program), a division of the National Able Network.

Susan has been a member of the GLWIB for just over four years, and is a member of the WIB’s Workforce Issues Committee. She is also on the Board of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore WIBs and the Metro North Regional Employment Board, as well as member of the National Association for Workforce Development.

Organization Description:

The National Senior Network administers the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a U.S. Department of Labor funded employment and training program for eligible mature workers age 55 and older. Through paid on the job experience in community based organizations (non profit or government) and classroom training, participants update their employability, marketable skills and fine tune their job hunting strategies and execution with NSN. Over 300 individuals worked through NSN last year.

The SCSEP program, started by President Lyndon B. Johnson, served over 100,000 mature workers nationwide in 2009.  In Lowell, participants from NSN work at Lowell City Hall, the National Parks Service, the Lowell Community Charter School, CTI, Boys and Girls Club, and at the Career Center of Lowell, among others. Participants are assigned to various jobs, depending on their skills and employment goals.

Based in Lowell, the National Senior Network has satellite offices in Lawrence and Lynn. The Lowell office has four full time employees, with enrolled participants being trained as case managers, payroll administrators and office support. The goal in placing participants is to help them gain sufficient experience and skills to obtain unsubsidized employment. NSN also has part-time staff on-site at the Career Source in Cambridge, North Shore Career Centers in Salem and Gloucester, and at the Career Center of Lowell.

Susan points out that 20% of the workforce in the US is 55 and older. In these difficult economic times, thousands of mature workers are losing their jobs and are having trouble reentering the workforce. NSN educates and helps older workers prepare gain the technology skills needed for today’s work environment. NSN provides the case management services to support workers in the difficult times after being laid off and help them develop new employment goals.

Ongoing or Upcoming Projects:

NSN recently began a new initiative to help mature workers maintain a positive self esteem during difficult times by providing senior art classes. Senior Arts is taught by NSN’s resident artist (also a mature worker). Classes are held at senior housing, in social centers and even at an assisted living facility! Evidence shows that art activities boost overall well being and provide participants with an opportunity to do something that they have never done before….like paint a picture.

NSN is working on a report that will help define what green careers are available for mature workers. The research for the report is being conducted by a participant who is interested in environmental friendly occupations.

NSN is also working to expand programs for participants by increasing job search and placement activities, providing ESL and computer skills training in small classes, and starting job clubs for mature workers.

The agency is developing new models of transitional employment services in which workers will be placed in subsidized employment and eventually transitioned into unsubsidized employment with an employer partner.

To learn more about the National Senior Network and its programs, visit their website at www.nationalable.org or call  978.275.9740.