Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (WISE)
The Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (Senior Community Services Employment Program) is an employment training program for low-income, unemployed individuals aged 55 years and older.
The program provides subsidized, part-time work experience for a limited time through community service to obtain the skills necessary for permanent employment. Participants in the program learn new skills and talents, or enhance existing ones, through valuable work experience and other training to become competitive in today's workforce.
The Senior Employment Program is funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act. It is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services through area agencies on aging and various other non-profit organizations.
What do most individuals want? To:
- Receive an income.
- Obtain benefits.
- Develop new skills.
- Feel useful and needed.
- Make new friends and stay in touch with the world.
- Provide structure to one's life.
- Have a sense of achievement and accomplishment.
- Know that you are a valuable asset to the community and yourself.
Older workers are good for business
The assets of older workers are increasingly being recognized by employers. Those assets include a strong work ethic, high productivity, extensive life and work experience, low absenteeism and turnover rates. Many Wisconsin employers are hiring older workers as part of their recruitment efforts to utilize the skills, experience and talents they possess.
Who is eligible?
Individuals applying for the Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (WISE) must meet specific requirements in order to be eligible:
- A legal resident of Wisconsin.
- 55 years of age and older.
- A limited income at no more than 125% of the federal poverty level.
Contact an employment coordinator in your county.
What is offered?
Wisconsin Senior Employment Program participants receive an assessment to determine individual needs for training, supportive services, and potential for employment. Eligible participants are closely matched with their personal goals and placed in a position in community service (not-for-profit or government agencies) for approximately 20 hours per week. Participants receive the Wisconsin minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Other job-related training may consist of upgrading existing skills, developing new skills, limited educational opportunities, job counseling and assistance in finding and keeping a job.
To gain work experience, Wisconsin Senior Employment Program participants are often placed in schools, hospitals, senior centers, nutrition programs, conservation programs, day care centers, and many other sites. These sites translate into positions such as nurse and teacher's aides, library clerks, clerical workers, adult and child day care assistants, campground recreational coordinators, maintenance workers, and many more occupations.
How do I apply?
To determine whether you are eligible for the Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (WISE), call the agency in your county and ask to speak with the "WISE Program Coordinator," who will do a brief "Question and Answer" evaluation over the phone to determine whether you qualify. Here is a list of Senior Employment Agencies by County.
For more information about jobs opportunities, contact the Wisconsin Job Center.