Training and Employing Older Workers in America’s Heartland

Older workers in rural settings have a unique employment challenge because of specific barriers posed by rural settings, coupled with the specific skills required by rural industries. The rural setting often limits the options for training and workforce development. Rural areas frequently lack public transportation, requiring lengthy drives to work or training sites. Even the lack of rural broadband poses a challenge, prohibiting online job applications, now a requirement of most employers in order to be even considered for work.

Many rural industries and businesses require unique skills from their workforce. The agricultural, coal, and steel industries all require specialized knowledge to succeed; while the increased reliance on small and mid-size businesses, along with public sector organizations, calls for different skills than a larger corporate workplace.

There is 2% of the rural population actually working on a farm.

Dee Davis, President and Founder of the Center for Rural Strategies, speaking at the SSAI 2018 Conference

SSAI Rural Workforce Development Programs

SSAI is in key areas to reach dispersed rural older workers. SSAI’s partners on the ground have relationships and expertise with rural communities to provide scalable workforce development solutions. Further, our partners provide training in the skills required by employers in rural communities.

Small business & entrepreneurship play a critical role in rural communities.  These small businesses become the lifeblood of rural economies. SSAI helps these small businesses with trained talent and helps other older workers with self-employment.

22%
Increase in 65+ people in rural counties since 2000
2x
the rate of poverty among rural residents compared to their urban counterparts
1/3
of rural working poor face extreme poverty living 50% below the poverty line