Year of Publication

2005

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Executive Summary

Statement of the Problem

The Lexington Fayette County Urban League Senior Community Service Employment Program is a federally funded program designed to assist low-income senior citizens find unsubsidized employment. To accomplish this mission the SCSEP utilizes a number of activities in an effort to address barriers that inhibit successfully finding unsubsidized employment. The Executive Director believes that the extent to which she can successfully address the barriers of those considered hard-to-place will have an impact on how well the program meets future mandates.

Research Methodology

The research is an exploratory analysis of the barriers that current and former (successfully placed) participants identified as inhibitors to successful placement into unsubsidized employment. A combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis was used to answer the research questions. Qualitative analysis was designed using a focus group approach to determine what the barriers are as perceived by the participants. Quantitative analysis was designed using a multi-variant formula to find out what demographic characteristics could be considered predictors of success in the program. Variables under study included age, gender, race educational level, physical limitations, psychosocial issues and time in program. A literature review was used to determine what the ‘best practices’ were of similar programs.

Results

As to the quantitative analysis the research showed that the barriers faced by the SCSEP in Lexington, KY are not very different than those faced by participants of similar programs. These were a lack of technical training to prepare them for a workforce that is technology driven and a labor that is not receptive to hiring older workers. Participants identified that the training sites could do more to assist them in acquiring unsubsidized employment by aggressively seeking dollars to hire them. The qualitative analysis revealed that age, physical limitations and time in program are statistically significant, with the time in program being the greatest predictor of success. The longer one is in the program the less likely they are to find unsubsidized employment.

Recommendations

Recommendations were limited to three areas computer training, seminars and Job Clubs. These were made based on the control the director has over program activities. Computer training needs to be more extensive and include other components related to work place skills. Seminars should be relevant to the clients with a focus on getting a job. And finally, the Job Club needs revamping to provide more focus and direction. Incorporating these recommendations should allow the SCSEP to more adequately meet the needs of its hard-to-place participants.

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