SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) Rochester is a program of the Gay Alliance. Through the efforts of SAGE leadership committee member Anne Tischer, SAGE Rochester was able to obtain a grant to offer an intensive two week boot camp to help LGBT people ages 40 and older expand their job hunting skills and career options. Rochester, NY will be the first mid-size city to receive a grant to launch SAGEWorks programing. (SAGE Program Educator Todd Plank) I spoke with Michele D’Amato, Program Manager of SAGEWorks to learn more about this exciting national employment support program for middle age-to-older adults seeking to return to the workforce.

Hi Michele, The Gay Alliance is thrilled to be the sixth city selected to host the SAGEWorks’ 2-week boot camp program.  

What served as the catalyst for the creation of the SAGEWorks Bootcamp Program?

We hired a consultant to do an assessment of our SAGEWorks program.  They determined that participants in the program likely require a more rigorous and comprehensive approach to workforce readiness when taking into account the multiple challenges many faced with searching for employment. The high percentage of long-term unemployed individuals accessing SAGEWorks indicated that participants needed more guided assistance than the former SAGEWorks menu of services provided.

How long has this program been in existence?

In the wake of the Great Recession and given the need for workforce supports for LGBT older adults age 40 and over, SAGE launched the SAGEWorks program in 2010. SAGEWorks provides hands on workshops, technology training, and personal coaching at various sites around the country. The SAGEWorks Employment Boot Camp was launched as a pilot program in NYC in September 2014.

How would you describe the essential components of SAGEWorks Bootcamp? 

It is a two-week long, 5 days per week, 4.50 hours per day class where participants learn relevant, cutting-edge job search skills in an LGBT-friendly environment.  We were lucky enough to recruit Dr. Howard Leifman, a nationally renowned human resource/training consultant and career executive coach, to deliver the curriculum. The course covers the following topics:

  • Realities of today’s job market
  • Resume and interview instruction
  • Conducting a modern job search
  • Social media and networking
  • Stress and anger management
  • Communication skills and selling yourself

Can you describe the ideal candidates for this free, intensive two-week intensive training course?  Applicants must have basic computer skills and be willing to commit to the two-week, 4.5 hours/day, 5 days/week program schedule. The best candidates will be those who are most motivated to find a job.

What else do you think that members and friends of Rochester’s LGBTQ communities need to know about this groundbreaking program?  It’s probably best to read a recent testimonial (January 14, 2016) written by one of our recent boot camp grads on our evaluation form:

“The strategic job searching techniques taught in this seminar covered all aspects of job searching, networking, informational interviews of potential employers, resources for researching companies, skills on how best to present yourself as a candidate through LinkedIn, a one minute elevator speech, how to create an overview of professional qualifications, how to categorize your experience on your resume, how to write a personal marketing proposal, interviewing techniques, and following up after with perspective employers. All of these will be incorporated in my approach to my job hunting.”

—David, 52 years-old. (Check out this link to a video blog of three SAGEWorks boot camp graduates at: http://blog.sageusa.org/blog/sageworks/ )

If you are seriously interested in attending the SAGEWorks boot camp scheduled for the weeks of May 16th and May 23rd and are prepared to make a commitment to be present for all ten days of the SAGEWorks program you will soon be able to register using the following link: http://bit.ly/SWBootCamp , contacting Todd Plank at tplank@gayalliance.org or by calling the Gay Alliance at 585.244.8640 x23. A hard copy of the application can be picked up at the Gay Alliance’s new location (100 College St., 14607) or mailed out to individuals who do not have access to a computer. Seats are limited, so people are encouraged to register early to ensure themselves a seat. Once all seats are filled, a waitlist will be created in the event that any slots open up prior to the workshop. Questions can be directed to Todd Plank using the contact information noted above.

Click here to learn more about SAGEWorks Rochester!