Mark Gyurina
Being unemployed is difficult: Being unemployed and over 45 is even harder.

Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston recognizes this harsh reality and its mission is to provide employment and training opportunities specifically to those who need it in this age group. The agency runs job fairs, job club, job search activities and, perhaps most significantly, helps its clients upgrade their technical and networking skills.

"When you are in your 50s and 60s, you can lack the confidence and the ability [to get a new job]," said Mark Gyurina, Director of Training Services at ABLE. "We provide that push and the confidence-building to get people back in the job search."

Now, thanks to stimulus funding, ABLE can also provide additional training opportunities to help older job seekers.

Recovery Act Impact: Operation A.B.L.E.

  • Community Service Employment Program: $257K

  • Nearly 60 additional clients placed

  • Weatherization Energy Audit Training: $75K

  • 19 students trained

  • Provided the agency with the ability to continue to provide the training

The agency received $257K in stimulus funds for its Community Service Employment Program (C-SEP) and $75K to develop a Weatherization Energy and Audit Training course (WEAT)

C-SEP enables ABLE to place clients in non-profit organizations, paying them a small salary and getting them training in new skills. Often, clients are hired after they finish the program or at the very least have experience they can place on their resume.

Mark Gyurina and Joan Cirillo, CEO of ABLE
With the stimulus funding, ABLE was able to place nearly 60 additional people, many of whom were hired by their host agencies.

"We are dealing with people with significant barriers to work," said Gyurina. "Their age, homelessness or disabilities and the goal is to get these people employed."

According to Gyurina, the program was running out of funds and without the stimulus award, they would have had to reduce the program. ""The stimulus funds enabled us to maintain our program and meet the demand for it," he said.

WEAT Program
The WEAT program was new to ABLE but answered a need among many of its clients, who have experience in construction. "We saw an opportunity for group training," said Gyurina. "It ended up being very successful." Not only did nearly all the 19 participants in WEAT get steady employment, but ABLE was also able to build on the program and continue providing these kinds of weatherization training services.

"The stimulus funds were a godsend," said Gyurina. "I don't know where these people would have received training and jobs. They are now working, making money and they are no longer unemployed."