SCSEP Participants are Big Bonanza for West Fargo Museum
Experience Works’ Senior Community Service Employment Program is fantastic for older workers and non-profits alike, according to participant Carla Nelson, who was assigned to Bonanzaville in West Fargo.
Bonanzaville is a museum and historical village which showcases the history and cultural heritage of the Red River Valley. The attraction boasts 43 historical buildings on 12 acres and more than 400,000 artifacts. Bonanzaville, which has been a host agency for Experience Works since 2007, currently hosts two participants: Lenora Hansen and Nelson.
Troy White, Bonanzaville’s executive director, said he is very happy with the assignment of Hansen and Nelson. “It has been a great experience for us,” said Smith. “It’s great to see the pride they take in the organization and doing a good job.” Nelson is very professional, according to White. When she notices things that can be improved, she speaks up with suggestions.
Nelson, who had been out of the workforce for several years is grateful to learn customer service and receptionist skills.
“I don’t know how I would have gotten back into the working world without Experience Works,” said Nelson. “I love the atmosphere and I love the challenges,” she added.
One of her duties is meeting with visitors and directing them to exhibits she believes they would find interesting. Nelson enjoys getting to know the diverse set of people who come through Bonanzaville.
Hansen, who works in the gift shop, said she also enjoys her assignment. “I have good people to work with and a very good supervisor,” she said. Hansen said she has been trained to use computer programs such as Quickbooks. She said she enjoys learning history and meeting Bonanzaville visitors.
White is pleased with the relationship between Bonanzaville and Experience Works. If there are any issues with training, he says, the Experience Works staff makes sure the participant receives the necessary attention to get up to speed.
White said having participants handle front desk duties greatly helps Bonanzaville. “It frees us up so we can offer better services to our customers,” he said. The SCSEP has a great impact on more than just Bonanzaville, according to White. The ability to offer better services enhances Bonanzaville as an attraction, which draws more tourists to the area.
New Career Takes Off at Titusville Airport
Richard Britton, 67, had been laid off from a job as a machinist and wanted to find a different line of work. Jim Kuhn, president of the volunteer-operated Titusville Airport Authority, wanted to hire its first paid employee. However he knew convincing the county would be unlikely because of budget concerns.
When Experience Works asked the airport to be a community service partner, the door of opportunity was opened for Britton and Kuhn. It was after extensive training through the Experience Works Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), that the airport authority hired Britton as their first paid employee.
Britton, of Titusville, enrolled in the program after his August 2010 layoff.
“I was burnt out as a machinist, working the same job all day indoors. When my job ended, I knew I needed to work again, but I needed training to do something else,” he said.
Titusville Airport Authority hired him as building and grounds manager in January. The timing was perfect according to Kuhn because the airport’s pool of volunteers had started to dry up over the last few years and the county funded the paid position.
After his long stint indoors as a machinist, Richard says he welcomes the outdoors and the experience of having a variety of jobs daily. “Experience Works SCSEP is a valuable asset to the older person who is looking to get job training,” said Britton “They can learn enough to get hired full time.”
Kuhn lauded the quality of maintenance Britton has provided the airport. “He’s an extremely capable employee,” Kuhn said of Britton.Britton is currently supervising a new SCSEP participant who is receiving training similar to his at the airport. While Britton describes training as challenging, he says the participant is picking up a great deal.