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AARP Foundation Gives $200,000 to Ease Unemployment in Lane County

Generous grant to help Oregonians aged 50 and older

AARP Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to be used to reduce the number of unemployed Oregonians aged 50 years and older living in Lane County over the next two years.

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Residents of Lane County are no strangers to the tough economy and job losses went from bad to worse in 2008 when Hynix Semiconductor and two recreation vehicle manufacturers closed sending more than 3,000 people home without paychecks. One of the hardest hit population segments were those aged 50 years and older.

“We are very excited that the AARP Foundation is making a sizeable investment in Lane County to help older workers and this community at large,” said Joyce DeMonnin Outreach Director for AARP Oregon. “This is just one more way that AARP is making a real difference in the lives of people 50-plus every day.”

The Lane Workforce Partnership, a local workforce investment board which wrote and applied for the grant, is coordinating the two-year campaign and working with Goodwill Industries and Lane Community College to provide an eight-week intense training class in customer service and reservation sales and help put people ages 50-plus back to work by increasing their skills, connecting them to employers, providing work supports and providing individualized financial planning assistance. The grant is considered seed money to launch a new program in Lane County to be sustained by a number of partners beyond the two-year life of the grant.

Enterprise Contact Center and Royal Caribbean Cruises, both have a large presence in Lane County and are committed partners, will hire candidates who successfully complete the course. A Prosperity Planner, hired through Goodwill, will be a personal coach to each class participant in not only career advising but instruction on smart money practices including debt reduction, savings and investments. There will be five classes beginning in April 2012 over the course of two years with a maximum of 20 people in each class.

“When participants go through the training program at Lane Community College they will get help with managing money, reducing debt and more,” said Anne Guthrie, Job Connections Coordinator with Goodwill Industries of Lane and South Coast Counties. “It goes beyond job finding. It’s life planning.”

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