Help wanted: Senior centers have many open positions

By Debbie Rogers, [email protected]

Attention seniors — or really anyone — who wants to get out of the house for 20-25 hours a week and meet people: Your help is needed.

This is the latest pitch from the Wood County Committee on Aging to attract drivers for lunch deliveries. There are also several other jobs that are open, said Denise Niese, executive director, during Wednesday’s committee on aging board meeting.

“The route driver positions are part-time positions. They are 20-25 hours per week Monday-Friday,” Niese said. “They would be perfect for a retiree.”

Other positions that are open include North Baltimore site manager, Northeast route driver, home-delivered meals assessor, program/outreach specialist, program and enrichment specialist, and cook.

“It’s everywhere,” Niese said of hiring challenges. “Every industry is competing for the same people.”

She said that the centers survive and stay open because all of the staff is cross trained.

“It’s a balancing act,” Niese said.

In other business, board President Paul Herringshaw said that a wage survey was recently completed. The survey was done by Abhishek Bhati, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at Bowling Green State University.

“The big thing out of that is most of our positions were pretty much in the range — we weren’t at the highest, but we weren’t at the lowest either,” Herringshaw said. “But there were some that we’re in the process of adjusting.”

There were 11 responses from around the state, he said. There were 46 surveys sent to senior centers in Ohio.

The challenge in comparing them is that some senior centers were smaller than Wood County’s and some were larger, Herringshaw said. Another challenge was defining positions, which can be varied at senior centers, he said.

A similar wage survey was done five years ago and two positions were adjusted, he said.

“The other thing that came out of that is we have decided that the minimum wage at the center will be $14 an hour, so there will be nobody making less than $14 an hour,” Herringshaw said.

The committee on aging has 36 positions, when fully staffed.

Also at the meeting, the board:

• Heard that MemoryLane Care Services will being operating at the end of March, with a ribbon cutting in May. This is contingent upon Older Americans Act funding being awarded.

• Heard that the snow melt system is being repaired at two entrances. The wire failure was discovered during last month’s cold snap.

• Heard that seven panels for glass mosaics will be taken to satellite centers for seniors to decorate the last two weeks of April. The panels will be installed in the Bowling Green senior center dining room on June 5, and unveiled at an elder abuse awareness event later that month.