What and who is the National Council on Aging? (Also referred to as the NCOA)
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the nation's leading non-profit service and advocacy for older adults. It is aimed at helping individuals, 55 plus, who meet a certain financial criteria, which is determined by federal guidelines, to find work through on-the-job training and employment counseling.
We help people with training opportunities and classes to make them job ready and able to compete for positions, for which they would otherwise be qualified, but are rejected because they are lacking current work experience and skills. While participants are training for an average of 10 hours per week, they are paid a small stipend that is the highest of federal, state, or local minimum wage directly by SCSEP.
Said training stipend will not affect eligibility for food stamps, subsidized housing, utility allowances, or PAAD. If questioned, we provide the Title V letter, which is the law that clarifies said training stipend, so that the income is not counted against a participant, when agencies are determining income guidelines for services.
What is the point of the program?
The point is to make a participant ready to be employed and able to compete in the current job market, by helping eliminate the barriers that are keeping one from getting a job.
Our mission has always been to improve the lives of all seniors. Older individuals with limited fixed income need additional income, but finding work is not as easy as many people come to realize.
Many who meet our financial criteria have been out of the work arena for several years. Although they have skills and former careers, they are unfamiliar with the current tools available to help an individual present themselves as an employable candidate.
NCOA connects our participants with the resources needed, including training, education, certifications, and retraining, which can help eliminate the barriers for employment they may be currently experiencing. The goal is to get you into a position of non-subsidized employment.
What kind of places are used for on-the-job training?
NCOA partners with local and national non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies. We partner with Municipal Town Halls, Hospitals, Senior Centers, Adult Communities, Churches, Food Pantries, Thrift Stores, etc.
We also partner with Private Industry Council (PIC) in Toms River, Ocean County College, Ocean County Senior Services, One Stop/Workforce 55 in Toms River, NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, many Chambers of Commerce in South Jersey, and the New Jersey Department of Labor.
On these sites, participants have an opportunity to learn and develop confidence and a comfort zone in interacting again. They have a chance to learn and to develop experience with:
-phone systems and office machines
-interaction with supervisors, co-workers, clients, customers, families, personnel, etc.
-industry and supply processes
-office skills and office management
-updating of computer skills
-updating of clerical skills
-team building and leadership skills
-maintaining an updated resume
We also help people attain certifications for CHHA, to become a home health aide and/or a companion and certifications to become security guards. Other certifications in many fields are attainable through the Department of Labor and the Private Industry Council, pending approval of application for such, and funding. For those who have a disability, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation would work with such individuals.
How do I get started?
First, contact NCOA at our office in Whiting at (732) 849-3705. We are located at 70 Lacey Road, Suite 10, Whiting, NJ 08759.
We can prescreen a potential participant by phone or in person. If the age and finance categories are in order, a packet with instructions will be issued. Since NCOA is funded through the US Department of Labor, there are several documents and steps that would need to be taken. We offer direct deposit, so bank information is needed.
The application process involves previous year's income tax statement, current bank statements, driver's license or birth certificate, Social Security card, updated resume, stamped registration from the One Stop Career Center (1027 Hooper Ave, Toms River NJ), etc. After documents are gathered, a potential participant would then call for an appointment to come into the office for an intake and an interview with your assigned case manager, regarding the best site placement for you.
What are the expectations after becoming a participant?
Once enrolled and placed, a participant would be expected to do all the things one would expect from an employer, such as submitting regular accurate time sheets, keeping your resume updated on file with us, and stay in communication with our staff.
Is there a salary given?
Participants receive a training stipend that is the highest of federal, state, or local minimum wage directly by SCSEP for an average of 10 hours a week. A participant would be considered to be training for a goal of unsubsidized employment.
What if a participant becomes ill, while working at a site?
Participants sign forms in advance at the intake, including medical leave or personal leave, as sometimes life is unpredictable and we all have to take care of things. These forms are pre-signed so that should a medical or any emergency turn up, a participant wouldn't have to worry about submitting new paperwork.
What is benefits stigma?
There is a mistaken perception among people who qualify for programs that they are going to be seen as taking a handout.
There are resources available for certain people and using those resources does not imply that you are taking something you do not deserve. Our program is specifically aimed at making self-sufficient individuals reach their potential in the workforce. Any senior citizen who has tried to find work and gotten nowhere, knows that there are barriers that keep employers from looking at his or her resume. We provide you an opportunity to update resumes with "current" work experience and skills enhancement.