- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 28, 2004

Eileen M. Walsh is helping older workers find jobs as the head of Experience Works, an Arlington nonprofit.

Ms. Walsh, 48, has been promoted to president and chief executive of the organization, which has 300 employees nationwide and a $110 million annual budget.

Experience Works focuses on employing people 55 and older, primarily those who are in the low-income bracket. Workshops train clients for technical and health care work, as well as resume and interviewing skills.

Experience Works began in 1965 as a group called Green Thumb, which provided work for low-income farmers. The company helps about 125,000 people every year, although not all of the jobs are secure.

“Our challenges are around our very focused commitment,” Ms. Walsh said. Many of the people seeking employment have barriers that keep them from the workplace, such as learning and physical disabilities and lack of training, she said.

“Plus, we provide a lot of our services in rural areas, which tend to have a much more difficult economic situation,” she said.

Ms. Walsh joined the organization in September 2001 as chief operating officer. She takes over the responsibilities of leading the organization’s internal operations in addition to its outreach with the private sector for funds and employment opportunities.

Experience Works obtains most of its funding through federal, state and local grants, but also receives corporate donations.

Before joining the organization, Ms. Walsh served in executive positions at AT&T;, the United Way of America and MediZeus Inc.

Phillip Klutts, chairman of the group’s board of directors, said the board had planned early on to have Ms. Walsh lead the organization after its president, Andrea Wooten, retired in October.

“I know I speak for every member of our board of directors when I say we are grateful and extremely pleased to have an executive with Eileen’s proven experience and dedication available to lead our organization,” Mr. Klutts said.

Ms. Walsh said she felt prepared for her job because of the training she received in the past few years. “One of the biggest changes is I have to focus more externally now. But I have felt very good about the transition,” she said.

Ms. Walsh lives in Alexandria.

—Marguerite Higgins

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