Folks of a certain age may recall television commercials in the 1970s in which the satisfied user of a product exclaimed, “I was so impressed; I bought the company.” The ads were for an electric shaver, and spokesman Victor Kiam did in fact purchase Remington Products in 1979.
Del Shilkret, of Windcrest Drive, can tell a similar story. In late 2007 Shilkret, then recently retired from a career in business financial management, registered with the Seniors Job Bank (SJB) seeking a part-time position in that or a similar field. Today he is a member of the SJB Board, as well as the organization’s treasurer.
Of course, the SJB is not a company, and Shilkret couldn’t and didn’t buy it.
In fact, SJB is a 39-year-old nonprofit, volunteer-driven community association that connects local people over 50 looking for work with businesses and households seeking workers. From its West Hartford headquarters, SJB serves the entire central Connecticut region.
Corporations, nonprofits, public agencies and homeowners call upon SJB to fill openings in a wide variety of job categories. SJB maintains a database of approximately 500 service providers: men and women over age 50, representing more than 150 distinct occupational and professional skills, blue and white collar. All the service providers pass a background check before being enrolled.
While the service providers are at least 50, the clients for whom they work can be of any age.
Shilkret’s relationship with the SJB began when he stopped by the SJB booth at a local town fair. The information he picked up there prompted him to sign on as a service provider, which in turn enabled him to find exactly the kind of job he wanted, one he held until he “retired for the second time” eight years later.
Shilkret has also been a SJB client, hiring a service provider with an IT background to solve some computer problems for him.
By 2016, after volunteering to help out around the SJB office, Shilkret was invited to join the SJB management team, reaching his present executive perch in 2018.
Other Granby area residents have benefited from the SJB without becoming quite as immersed in it as has Shilkret.
Service provider Eileen Berry, of Windmill Springs Road, for example, has completed a number of gardening projects for homeowners. Berry, whose working history includes stints as a tennis instructor and airport customer service agent (in addition to her involvement with an international public health program), turned to the SJB because “I didn’t want to do nothing. I like to be outside,” she said, explaining why she made herself available for garden-related calls. Her clients appreciate the fact that, “I show up,” Berry added.
Client Frank A. Schoenrock, who operates Schoenrock and Company, CPA and Schoenrock Financial and Associates Investment Advisor Representative from his East Granby Road office, has considered the SJB a valuable resource for more than 18 years. Over that period, Schoenrock has hired tax professionals, receptionists and other administrative aides referred to him by SJB.
Like many service providers on the SJB rolls, marketing consultant Bob Sproat of East Granby enjoys the opportunity afforded by the SJB system to choose only jobs that appeal to him. “I want to work, but don’t have to work,” he said.
Becoming a SJB service provider begins with a person’s describing the kind of work he or she can and wants to do—without being limited by previously held positions. While many service providers choose to continue practicing their accustomed vocations, others seize the opportunity to profit from knowledge and talents they didn’t (or couldn’t) apply during their regular careers.
After passing the background check (for which there’s a $30 fee) the new service provider is added to SJB’s roster and is eligible to be referred as jobs in his or her specialty become available.
When a client—a firm, government agency or household—with a position to be filled calls SJB, its request is matched with service providers qualified to handle the task. SJB then gives the client contact information for several appropriate service providers whom he or she may interview and consider. The client and service provider selected for the job negotiate the terms of the assignment, including its duties, expected results, and compensation.
There is no charge, to either service provider or client, when SJB makes a referral.
Some domestic clients are looking for help with one-time chores or home maintenance issues like having a stuck window fixed, getting yard work or cleaning done, arranging for repair of appliances, or obtaining aid with putting family documents and records in order.
Other clients need continuing help around the house or personal assistance. Some examples are weekly lawn mowing, driving a patient to scheduled medical appointments, and periodically picking up the groceries.
With commercial concerns and other entities too, jobs can be one-shot or longer term. They may involve office administration, transportation, retail, industrial and a broad variety of other types of responsibilities.