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Older New Yorkers who still want to work taking advantage of new Department of the Aging program

Older New Yorkers who still want to work taking advantage of new Department for the Aging program
Older New Yorkers who still want to work taking advantage of new Department for the Aging program 02:51

NEW YORK -- More and more, we're seeing New Yorkers working well into their 60s. The state comptroller's office has found there has been a 12% increase in employees over 65 in the workplace.

But they often face discrimination.

There is a new city program that retrains older workers and helps educate potential employers.

"It is not difficult to get out of bed when you have someplace to go," Tony Lorenzo said.

These days, 69-year-old Lorenzo is going to the city's Department for the Aging for computer training classes as he prepares to re-enter the workforce.

"I really thought I was at the end of the line because I always was able to work. But then when the age came in, you know," Lorenzo said.

It's all part of a newly launched program called Silver Corps.

"That's what Silver Corps is. It is a career opportunity program. But it is also a skills enhancement, a certification and a support for that older individual who still wants to be in the workforce, who has something to contribute," said Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez, commissioner of the Department for the Aging. "The most necessary to retool first is confidence. And that's the first skill set because the ability is there and work ethic is there."

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The program is free and currently has about 60 students getting technical guidance, English language skills, and other job-related training.

Another key part of the program is that all participants, like 68-year-old Shilah Howell, are required to volunteer for a number of hours before they are placed.

"I'm doing an internship and I'm getting actual experience as if I was working," Howell said.

"Volunteering is two main benefits. One is the societal benefit to the cause that you're volunteering from. But also for that opportunity for you to develop that muscle call, I'm going to be part of a team again," Cortes-Vasquez said.

Diane Cohen, who is also in her in 60s, does job placement for older workers, many coming from city programs.

"Many seniors aren't looking to rule the world. They're not looking to climb the corporate ladder. Give them their rung and let them do their thing," Cohen said.

She said she regularly encounters ageism in the workplace, but works with employers to dispel that thinking, adding the experience and strong work ethic senior workers like Kioka Jones has, bring tremendous value.

"The initial support at the Department of Aging really set the course for me, because they gave me the technical support, and the mental and emotional support. That's really key right there. When someone says, 'You have a dynamic resume. We're going to help you. You're going to do well.' So I say maybe I will be okay," Jones said.

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