Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, Older Americans Month (OAM) is observed every May to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. This year’s OAM theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
Across the country, older Americans – a rapidly growing population – are taking part in activities that promote wellness and social connection. As volunteers, employers, educators, mentors, advocates, and more, they offer insight and experience that benefit the entire community. Most importantly to the work of Goodwill, as employees, older workers bring knowledge, experience, and maturity to the workplace.
Local Goodwill organizations provide services to thousands of older Americans each year. Goodwill provides paid, on-the-job training to older workers with low incomes through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), funded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
SCSEP is a critical component in our nation’s workforce development system that is helping to address the employment challenges of older Americans and the workforce needs of America’s employers. SCSEP prepares unemployed older adults, age 55 and older, for employment through paid, on-the-job work experiences at community nonprofits or agencies, such as a libraries, schools, or senior centers. During the past program year, more than 8,000 businesses and organizations hired one or more SCSEP participants.
Unlike the general workforce development system, SCSEP is required to serve most-in-need older adults. During the last program year, SCSEP provided employment supports to individuals with low employment prospects, who lived below the poverty line, had disabilities, who were homeless or at-risk of homelessness, and who resided in rural areas or in areas of persistent unemployment. In addition, nearly seven in 10 SCSEP participants were women and one in 10 was a veteran.
Congress is currently considering funding for important job training programs, including SCSEP, for Fiscal Year 2020. In addition, the Older Americans Act, which includes the SCSEP program, is due for reauthorization. Your voice is important to our efforts in educating Congress about the value of SCSEP and the positive impact that older workers have in our communities. Register for GII’s Legislative Action Center and follow us on to receive future alerts and updates about SCSEP and other employment programs of importance.