Seniors and Veterans Targeted for Back-to-Work Program

Updated: 08/27/2013 6:23 AM By: Todd Wilson

John Gasper has been out of work now for 18 months. He says times have been tough.

"The feeling is that I hadn't not worked in many, many years. So the thought is looking towards my next job, what am I going to do?" he said.

Gasper says, he has made searching for a job -- a job.

"I have had a lot of leads but nothing has really come through," Gasper said. 

Gasper's luck could be changing. The city of Minneapolis is in the process of rolling out a new back-to-work program called "Platform to Employment." It is designed to help the long-term unemployed return to work. It helps people who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits, live in Minneapolis, and are 50 years of age or above; or a veteran 30 years of age or younger.

Terrell Towers of the Minneapolis Workforce Center says the program provides five weeks, four days a week of  training. Plus job search strategies, job placement assistance, and networking throughout the process. Following the five weeks of training there's up to eight weeks of a paid internship with an employer.

"The numbers have been fantastic across the country; 70-75 percent of the people that graduate from the program get hired on some place for the internship. And 90 percent of those people are kept on at those employers," he said.

Gasper says the numbers sound good. He's hoping to catch on with someone after his training.

"I think it's not bleak, but it's hard for a man my age, for people my age," he said.

The program is accepting applications until Sept. 6. Things will kick off for "Platform to Employment" Sept. 23.