Congress returned from their annual summer break in August and found themselves already behind in their homework. Awaiting completion are the FY 2016 appropriations bills, though Congress will likely need a short term continuing resolution to complete that assignment. Also due is a vote on the Iran agreement, the debt ceiling, highway bill reauthorization and funding, and finding bridge funding for the SSDI program whose trust fund runs dry in a year.
So now we have a little homework for you. Not to worry, we’re sure you’ll ace this test with ease. Two bills that would help leverage resources in Goodwill’s effort to help more people find work are S. 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization, and S.1513/H.R. 3406, legislation that reauthorizes the Second Chance Act.
Older Americans Act and SCSEP
Title V of the Older Americans Act is the Senior Community Service and Employment Program (SCSEP) that provides funds to help seniors access job training and find work. SCSEP provides Goodwill Industries International and its local Goodwill sub-grantees with resources to engage older individuals with low incomes in valuable training and employment preparation.
In 2014, Goodwill’s SCSEP participants contributed nearly one million community service hours (935,740 hours). Private sector placements averaged a starting wage of more than $10 per hour with an average of nearly 30 hours per week. In addition, more than 25 percent of those placed were in positions that offered benefits including health, vacation, and retirement.
Second Chance Act
In 2014, more than 26.4 million people, including more than 150,000 people with a criminal record, benefited from Goodwill’s workforce development services. Local Goodwill agencies provide skills training, job placement and job retention services to people with employment challenges, including people with a criminal background.
Now, if you’ve already responded to our previous calls to action on these two bills then you’ve already earned your A+ grade! If not, there is still time to support America’s seniors and help those with a criminal background find work. Just complete this little online assignment by going to our legislative action center links below and let Congress know that their stack of homework is a little higher than they expected.