Jones found them through a meeting with Eva Trevino Garcia, who heads the Bexar County AARP Foundation SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program), a job-training program for struggling, unemployed older workers age 55 and over. Jones and Garcia discussed the museum’s needs and the type of worker he was seeking, and then they developed a training program for SCSEP to prepare enrollees to begin working as security officers in the new expansion. Garcia pre-interviewed and pre-screened each enrollee who might qualify for the positions and conducted assessment testing to ensure that each candidate had the necessary job skills.
Since that meeting in January 2008, Jones has hired 45 SCSEP participants as museum security officers. Former SCSEP participants currently fill 30 of the 40 security positions. “I truly found people that are dedicated to the job. They’re professional, they take pride in their work and our turnover has been exceedingly low. I just couldn’t be happier,” Jones said. The McNay has given the opportunity to unemployed senior professionals to continue striving in the professional sphere.
There is a cultural misconception that people over fifty are too old to work, when in reality they still have productive years ahead of them. “At a time when unemployed workers over 50 spend much more than any other age group – more than a year – looking for a new job, McNay Art Museum’s enthusiasm about the skills and training workers can bring to the job is especially heartening,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, president of AARP Foundation. The McNay Art Museum has received AARP Foundation’s Small Business Recognition Award for outstanding efforts in training and hiring workers age 50 and over. The annual award recognizes an employer who, despite the challenging economy, is actively recruiting, hiring and training older workers.
When docents and curators leave, the only thing left are museum guards. They spend their days looking at artwork building intimate relationships with their favorite pieces, artists, and techniques. If you have had the opportunity to work at a museum, you might be able to relate to this close relationship between the objects and yourself after spending some time in the galleries. A passion for the arts is often developed or present already within museum employees. That is why some museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art have organized employee art shows in their galleries and give them an output for their daily inspiration.