Here, at the midpoint of yet another historically exceptional year, I’m pleased – and relieved – to report that the Seniors Job Bank continues to fulfill our mission, serving the Greater Hartford community by connecting people over 50 seeking work with businesses, other organizations and households that have work to be done.
Despite the human and economic uncertainty wrought by the Covid pandemic, from January through June, we received 445 job requests. That compares with 403 in the corresponding period of 2020. Moreover, during that time thirty new job seekers have been added to our registry. Not bad, considering all that’s been going on. And well worth a note of thanks… to the job seekers and employers who trusted SJB to help them find one another.
But we could not have maintained our enterprise without the individuals and philanthropies who provided the financial fuel we needed… and which enables us to deliver our service at no cost to job seekers or employers. I’m particularly gratified by the results of our spring fundraising campaign, during which so many of you made generous donations. Special thanks to long time SJB Board member Jim Doran and the Dornam Foundation for effectively doubling the contributions we received from you. And of course, to the Harry E. Goldfarb Family Foundation and Vernon D. and Florence E. Roosa Family Foundation for their valuable grants.
Beyond funding though, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has provided an opportunity for SJB staff and Board members to expand our knowledge of issues regarding management of non-profit agencies. I appreciate that no-fee access to the Foundation’s expertise.
The Seniors Job Bank Board consists of sixteen talented and committed volunteers. The first half of 2021 saw a strengthening of that panel by the addition of three new members. Coming from diverse backgrounds in business and government, Novlette Williams, David Pena and Elaine Thomas-Williams are bringing new energy and ideas to our table.
It’s important that we keep our neighbors aware of SJB’s position as a community asset. While we do get media attention when we make news, our website (www.sjbct.org)is a permanent home of information about what we’re up to. In recent months, the site has been enhanced by an entertaining and informative blog. Kudos to volunteer Kathy Hayes for being the creative force behind the blog that explores a variety of topics concerning aging and working.
Speaking of which… The just concluded session of the Connecticut legislature enacted a law aimed at reducing age discrimination in hiring. Shepherded by Senator Derek Slap, the measure prohibits (with some exceptions) job application questions from whose answers the applicant’s age might be inferred. Over the three years it took to get the bill passed, several SJB staff and Board members promoted it in such ways as testifying at legislative committee hearings, speaking at press conferences, and appearing on TV news. The Seniors Job Bank was represented at the ceremonial signing of the law by Governor Lamont.
Finally, I want to thank our executive director, Sheila Diamond and office assistant Mary Gold for persevering as the virus turned their homes into our office. They kept us going through the dark days until now, at long last, a return to our West Hartford Town Hall headquarters is reasonably in sight.