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Spotlight on Innovation: Older Workers Employment Program

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week's focus is on the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, winner in the Economic Security category.

Launched in 2016 as a pilot program in a city-wide initiative to address homelessness among older adults, the Older Workers Employment Program (OWEP) provides participants with paid, on-the-job training to meet their unique needs. The LA Department of Aging modeled OWEP after the federally-subsidized Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), leveraging the expertise of existing staff to design, implement and assess the program, including outreach to community partners and program recruitment.

Through the program, clients earn a paycheck, acquire new job skills (including state-of-the-art training in the growing digital print media industry), gain access to temporary and permanent housing and are connected with supportive services. Participants are trained and supervised by policy staff in the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity, Homeless Services.

The program's successful outcomes have since secured OWEP as a permanent program offered as part of the LA Department of Aging's core services. Since July 2016, the program has served 143 participants, many of whom have reported achieving significant milestones such as securing financial services (banking, savings, etc.), housing and increased self-esteem.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Aging recently approved the hiring of a social worker to provide supportive services that include nutrition, transportation, housing and case management services. The agency is also seeking to partner with other social justice enterprises to expand its services.

To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!

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