Spotlight: Sunnyside Community Services, 2015 Age Smart Employer Award Winner

Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) is a multi-service community-based organization located in western Queens that provides a continuum of vital services and activities for 14,000 individuals of all ages annually.  In 1974 it was established as a senior center and began offering licensed home care service in 1979.  In 1983 they introduced youth services.

SCS says they welcome the experience and perspective of older workers, and seeks to leverage their presence in the community to attract older individuals to their staff. Of the 133 employees that work at SCS, 40 are over 50 years old.

Specific Age Smart Policies & Practices

HIRING

  • They recruit qualified older workers through collaborations with a number of agencies that represent and advocate for older adults including the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA), America Works, Easter Seals, and Dress for Success.

  • SCS appoints a member of their senior center’s advisory council to the Board of Directors. This ensuresthe voice of their older program participants is heard at the highest level of organizational management.

  • SCS recruits, screens, orients, and places older jobseekers in their programs to gain experience and become more marketable job applicants.

JOB RESTRUCTURING

  • Employees can request equipment or technology that will make their job easier and help them be more efficient.

TRAINING

  • A pro bono team from McKinsey developed a system to identify people with career advancement potential and connected them with career ladders in the agency.

  • Partnerships with professional organizations allow them to connect staff to high quality trainings that meet individual needs.

FLEXIBILITY IN SCHEDULING

  • SCS offers flexible working hours to all employees whose job descriptions permit it.

  • Their telecommuting policy allows staff to work from home two days each month.

BENEFITS

  • There is an annual longevity celebration.

  • The employee assistance program offers mental health counseling, smoking cessation services, blood pressure and glucose screenings, vaccinations, and financial management assistance.

  • The Caregivers Program provides employees who are caring for a loved one with resources and information.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE APPROACHING RETIREMENT/RETIREES

  • Employees approaching retirement are offered reduced schedules and flexible time arrangements.

  • Older employees can use the senior center service programs offered by SCS.

  • Employees 60+ can become members of the senior center at SCS.

  • After retirement, former employees can volunteer and continue to access the senior center.

  • There is also help with accessing benefits that are helpful to retirees, like the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption.

Click here for a list of all of our 2015 winners