“Work saves us from the three great evils of vice, boredom and poverty.” – Voltaire
After 50 years of success in the business world, Thomas “Tazio” Lotts considered a quiet retirement. However, it quickly became apparent that he still had more he desired to give. At the gentle urging of his wife, Tazio sought out new opportunities.
“The mechanism of looking for a job at my age is different than for those coming straight out of college,” says Tazio. “But older workers are an untapped resource. We don’t often need much, just enough to stay off the ragged [financial] edge and active.”
While volunteering at a local consignment store, he learned about the AARP’s Senior Community Service Employment Program. As a part of that program, Tazio began working part-time at the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Career Center in East Austin.
Tazio, who gave up his car seven years ago, utilizes public transit to get to work. However, he says he does not mind the three hour daily commute.
“My commute affords me the opportunity to read and listen to music and an eclectic mix of philosophy CDs,’ says Tazio. “Plus, I am able to continue my long-term/ongoing commitment to understanding the myriad of meanings and messages of James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake.’”
Tazio is thankful for the opportunity and flexibility of his new position. No longer interested in working a full 40-hour work week, this position allows Tazio to remain busy while bringing in income to supplement Social Security.
“You used to be able to live on Social Security,” says Tazio. “But rent, utilities and food have gone up significantly [more than Social Security].”
As a part of the Workforce Solutions team, Tazio now helps job seekers utilize the free services our Centers offer, including the online employment database WorkInTexas.com.
“I’ve gotten a different feeling about the Austin community in this job,” says Tazio. “It’s not a charity. I’m just helping to get people ready for the jobs that are available. I’ve been really impressed with some of the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. It’s a nice feeling to be helpful.”
“I didn’t even know I had these skill sets. They were dormant.”
About the Senior Community Service and Employment Program (SCSEP)
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has been serving older workers for over 40 years. Through that program, AARP Foundation operates 70+ community based project sites in 22 states and Puerto Rico. The mission of this program is to provide subsidized training opportunities to low income individuals age 55+ and assist them with securing permanent, unsubsidized employment. AARP Foundation remains the most successful national sponsor in both service rates and exits for employment.
SCSEP is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor with support from AARP and the AARP Foundation. The program provides comprehensive training and support that helps individuals to:
- Obtain new job knowledge
- Enhance existing skills
- Gain a competitive edge in today’s job market
- Find and maintain employment
To be eligible for SCSEP, applicants must be unemployed, 55 or over, meet income guidelines and be interested in bettering their current employment circumstances. To see a list of locations nationwide, please visit http://www.aarpworksearch.org/Pages/Locations.aspx.