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Put experience to work in your community

RSC in Texas Receptionist Now in our 40th year, Experience Works helps seniors get the training they need to find good jobs in the community. Experience Works is a national, nonprofit, community-based organization whose mission is to put the experience of older individuals to work.  Originally named Green Thumb, and chartered in 1965 as a small, rural demonstration program, Experience Works has grown to be the nation’s leading provider of training, employment, and community service for low-income older people.

Our Mission

To Put Experience to Work

By putting the experience of older individuals and others to work, Experience Works will strengthen families, communities, and our nation.  We will promote human dignity and independence while enabling businesses to be more competitive.  And we will have a positive impact on the world economy and social fabric as we help to address the challenges and opportunities of an aging population.

Our Vision 

We will do this by:

Core Values

Our History

The roots of Experience Works' story began in the summer of 1963 when President John F. Kennedy decided to make poverty a focus of his anticipated 1964 re-election campaign.  Jim Patton, president of the National Farmers Union and a White House advisor on labor issues, encouraged the President to develop policies that would help disadvantaged residents of America's rural communities.  In the last Cabinet meeting before his ill-fated trip to Dallas, the President wrote "poverty, poverty, poverty" in his notes.
Less than thirty days after President Kennedy's assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson invited several national leaders to the White House to discuss an agenda for his new administration.  Johnson needed to quickly develop a theme that would heal a badly shaken nation.  Jim Patton and Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman remained after the meeting at the President's request.  When the President asked for their ideas, Patton immediately replied, "I think you ought to declare war on poverty!”  Moments later, the President officially announced his "war" to the press.

With the Economic Opportunity Act, key legislation of the War on Poverty, stalled in congressional debate, however, it took the personal interest of Lady Bird Johnson to help the initiative press forward. A memo to the First Lady outlined the proposal to "take the 'green thumbs' of poor, older, and retired farmers and put them to work to beautify our highways." Mrs. Johnson responded, "What an opportunity is presented here to provide [older farmers] with useful employment for which they are fully qualified, and at the same time, to beautify highways for the benefit of all our people."

On October 5, 1965, President Johnson at last signed the Nelson Amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act, which funded the "green thumb" project of the National Farmers Union. Ten days later, Green Thumb, Inc. (now Experience Works) was launched as the first nonprofit organization created to run a jobs program for disadvantaged rural Americans. The following spring, crews of 280 participant farmers went to work on beautification projects in Arkansas, New Jersey, Oregon, and Minnesota.

That initial project in four states soon evolved into the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). The small demonstration program that initially launched Green Thumb in 1965 is now a major federal workforce initiative success story. Based on the "Experience Works model," the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) annually provides training, employment, and community service opportunities to almost 100,000 seniors across the country. Experience Works is one of thirteen national organizations that, along with governors of every state, operate the SCSEP under grants with the U. S. Department of Labor. Experience Works continues to operate this innovative and cost effective program, under the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, providing training and employment opportunities to low-income older workers residing in rural areas.

Often in conjunction with the SCSEP, Experience Works operates older-worker training projects across the country. These projects involve occupational skills, classroom, or on-the-job training including:

Occupational skills -- Training focused on developing skills for high-growth occupations such as home health aide, nurse assistant, and computer operator. High-growth occupations are identified for each specific project locality.

Classroom training -- Focused on developing the basic skills some participants need in order to become job ready. Our staff customizes this training to the needs of the participant.

On-the-job training -- Utilizing the skills of individual employers, we coordinate training participants for specific jobs that require special skills. The participating employer receives partial reimbursement for the extraordinary costs that may be associated with training the particular individual.

In 1998 Experience Works initiated the annual, national Prime Time Awards Program, to recognize the valuable contributions of working seniors.  Annual Report

Contact Phone  Address Location
Cindy Ogburn 307.324.3485 wk 1703 Edinburgh Street Rawlins, 82301
307.324.3555 hm

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