Coordinator receives national recognition

A coordinator for a local non-profit agency recently received an award for his hard work.
Anthony Wells, employment and training coordinator for Experience Works, in Wapakoneta, earned national recognition for service to older workers.
Wells recently received the organization’s 2011 Changing Lives Awards, which brings recognition to his efforts to help low income older workers obtain training they need to find jobs in their communities.
“It made me feel really good,” Wells said. “I never expected it. It’s good to be recognized as someone helping to change lives.”
Experience Works is a non-profit organization aimed at training and finding employment for older workers. The goal of this organization is to help low-income older individuals serve their communities, upgrade their employment skills and obtain a job.
In order to be eligible, the program participant must be 55 years old or older and earn less than $13,000 per year for one person.
“Older people are living longer,” Wells said, “and with the economy the way it is, they struggle to afford medications and still support their families.”
“We give them a new start in life and new opportunities,” he said.
Wells said that Experience Works is the largest non-profit employment training in Ohio. He oversees a 10-county region for the firm which operates in 35 states and Puerto Rico.
Currently, there are 575 participants in the state of Ohio, 95 participants throughout the 10 counties that Wells oversees and 22 participants in Auglaize County.
“The best part of the job is getting participants trained and have them go from training to employment,” Wells said. “It really changes lives.”
So much of what people do, they identify with, he said.
“We have identity through jobs,” Wells said.
Wells said since a car accident left him disabled, he had lost his job and had then become a participant of the program.
“Because I was a participant, it’s good to know we practice what we preach,” Wells said. “I myself would not know where I’d be. This program is life changing.”
Experience Works Program Operations Executive Director Billy Wooten presented the award to Wells.
“We’re very proud to recognize Anthony Wells’s outstanding efforts to assist older individuals who desperately need to find jobs,” Wooten said in a news release. “The current economic situation has forced many older people to look for employment, and Anthony is dedicated to helping them re-tool and re-enter the workforce. Unfortunately, recent federal budget cuts have slashed funding for the Senior Community Service Employment Program 45 percent over the last year so there are long waiting lists for services. That makes Anthony’s achievements even more vital to both seniors and employers.”
Wells said his staff was vital and critical in his receiving the honor.
“Without all the staff members, I don’t think I would have received this award,” Wells said. “The staff is so dedicated.”