DAYTON, Ohio — The pandemic created a need for workers. In any city in Ohio, you see "help wanted" signs all over the place. In the Dayton region alone, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is reporting nearly 31,000 job openings. Businesses are forced to get creative finding workers.
Talent is what many companies are looking for right now, and it’s Donna Kastner’s mission to help connect that talent with companies in need. She’s the lead for Silver is Gold, an initiative through the Dayton Collaboratory that helps connect retirees with part-time opportunities with companies in need.
“Forty years of a career — there’s a lot of different skills that you hone,” she said. “But what are the ones that are strongest and more importantly, the things that this particular retired professional loves to do?"
Pam Lakoff is one of Silver is Gold’s first clients. Four years ago, Lakoff officially retired from her career as a systems engineer. Now, with all of her free time, she said she’s ready for a new opportunity.
“I needed something else that fill that little gap and this came along,” she said.
Over a span of 40 years, Lakoff was a high school math teacher, a systems engineer and worked on various large-scale projects. Although she’s retired, she said she still wants to use her expertise and knowledge to help companies in need.
“We’re retired, but still vital,” she said. “But we don’t want to work every day. Or if we do it’s like an hour or something like that. But we’re reliable. If we say we’re going to do something, we take care of it. What employer doesn’t want that? “
Silver is Gold launched earlier this year, partnering with more than 20 different nonprofits and businesses in Dayton to help clients like Lakoff. Her first assignment was working on a company website and testing it out.
“I got to see some new technology, I got to meet some new people, which is really great and be exposed to another organization within Dayton that I really didn’t know existed,” she said.
The Census Bureau predicts that by 2035 there will be 1 million more people 65 and over than those 18 and younger, and Silver is Gold’s goal is to be a resource for seniors and companies looking to fill their talent gap.
“It’s an opportunity to do something vital in the community,” she said. "But also it’s to do something you’ve enjoyed maybe from your past life or your past experiences and you’ll be able to take that and marry that with doing something good for the community.”
For more information about Silver is Gold, click here.