Participants Thrive in SCSEP at Evansville Goodwill

By Evansville Goodwill Industries, Inc. Human Services Director, Brandy Smith

This is the second year the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) grant money to Evansville Goodwill Industries, Inc. (IN). Evansville Goodwill is one of six Goodwill® organizations participating in SCSEP.

Evansville400x300SCSEP is funded through the Older Americans Act. The program trains low-income seniors who are unemployed. It pays people 55 and older $7.25 an hour for up to 20 hours a week while they train at local nonprofits and public facilities, such as hospitals, schools and day care centers.

Jana Sullivan is a SCSEP employment specialist at the local Goodwill. She manages the program in four local counties, where there are a total of 25 SCSEP slots available.

Twenty-three people are enrolled, but that number changes as participants find work. Also, Sullivan likes to have extra participants waiting in the wings in case someone rotates off the program.

Sullivan started the position in September. Since that time, eight SCSEP trainees in one county alone have moved to full- or part-time employment.

“(The program) gives participants value and empowerment,” Sullivan said. “Sometimes, (senior citizens) get left by the wayside.”

She hopes to end the stigma often associated with aging and remind employers that older workers are dependable and reliable.


The local program has supported individuals like Gail Rutledge.

Rutledge, 65, thought she was too old to train for a job, but she needed to find work. At the end of most months, she had as little as $10 left after paying bills.

But her attitude was: “No one will hire me. (I’m) too old. I didn’t have no way of getting a job and keeping it.”

In March, she enrolled in SCSEP and is training as a resource navigator at one of Evansville Goodwill’s retail store. She’s learning customer service and computer skills.

Since joining SCSEP, Rutledge is catching up on bills. She bought new glasses and hopes to buy a car.

“It’s a dream I would never have made for myself,” Rutledge said.

Goodwill and SCSEP have also helped David Glover.

“The training they give here allows you to update your computer skills,” said David Glover, who joined SCSEP about 18 months ago. “This program gave me an opportunity to re-enter the work force.”

Glover, 57, was unemployed about three years before coming to SCSEP. He felt his skills deteriorated while he was off work because of a disability.

Now, he’s getting experience as a clerical aide at the Kentucky Career Center.

Read the original article on the Messenger-Inquirer.