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Laid-off seniors granted year extension for PT jobs

The 72 senior citizens who were laid off from their part-time jobs with the Territorial Administration On Aging, when federal funding for the employment program ended, have now been told they can continue working for another year after a one-year extension was granted by the federal grantor.

TAOA director Fa'afiti Pita Tauanu’u's first request last month, to the federal grantor, for a one-year extension was denied. However, TAOA's second request, submitted just last week, was granted.

“This is good news for the affected senior citizens so that we are able to return to work for at least another year,” he told Samoa News in an interview Thursday morning.

Tauanu'u did not elaborate on the reason his initial request was denied by the federal grantor.

The federal program funds each senior citizen's part-time employment for only 48 months. Some of the laid off seniors had been on the program for at least 5 years.

Some of the work performed by the senior citizens include working with elementary school students with respect to cultural handicrafts, mat weaving and teaching Samoan culture.

Tauanu’u said some 3,000 senior citizens are employed under this federally funded program and after 48 months, other seniors on the waiting list - about 200 of them - are then given the chance to be employed.

  A meeting was called, with the effected seniors, yesterday morning at the TAOA Center  to explain they are now re-employed for one-year only, starting next Monday.

The seniors are pleased to be able to return to work but were told at the meeting that although a one-year extension for the program's funding is approved, the federal grantor requires additional information to be provided to ensure the funds are used according to the grant's regulations.  For example, the feds want records of each person's work performance. Such information includes being on time.

Tauanu’u was unable to attend yesterday's meeting because he was at the Fono to testify before the Senate Government Operations Committee regarding TAOA programs including this employment program. A ranking TAOA official addressed the seniors at yesterday's meeting.