Senior citizens who want to re-enter the Minnesota workforce can receive extra help starting today.

Senior citizens who want to re-enter the Minnesota workforce can receive extra help starting today.

That’s when the Minnesota Board of Aging and the Senior LinkAge Line One Stop Shop for Minnesota Seniors will roll out an initiative to provide help in landing a job. The START MN initiative is expected to assist seniors struggling to find work by providing information and access to employment resources.

The idea was greeted with enthusiasm by Henry Tweten, an 89-year-old member of the East Grand Forks City Council.

“A lot of seniors retire too early,” Tweten said. “They either don’t have enough things to do or inflation hits them, so they go back into the workforce. One problem is that they go back for substantially less money. Or, the jobs require more technology than they know. This should help.”

The Senior LinkAge Line began operating in the late 1990s by helping Minnesota seniors with Medicare questions. Since then, it has expanded its guidance for seniors to other areas, such as tax forms and Medicare applications. And, in 2012, the organization launched SHARE MN, which connects seniors with volunteer opportunities.

Now, there’s help in finding work with START MN.

“We’re concentrating on people who want to return to work,” said Jean Wood, director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “One of the state’s needs is to retain older workers because there aren’t as many younger workers as there used to be.

“And, we know a lot of older Minnesotans need or want to return to work, some part time, some in a different career path. We’ve found many of these people need to be retrained, so we want to get them connected to the right resources.”

Lynda Adams, the coordinator of the East Grand Forks Senior Center, said “it’s always good to have help” when seeking employment.

Tweten said money isn’t the only reason that seniors seek work.

“When seniors work, they feel like they’re contributing to the economy and the well-being of others,” he said.
“If you want to put a smile on people’s faces, give them a job that’s dignified.”