The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of nearly $260 million in grants to 15 nonprofit organizations across the country to provide critical job training and related services through Senior Community Service Employment Program jobs.
"The federal grants announced today will provide job training to enhance low-income seniors' employment opportunities and contribute millions of community service hours to nonprofit and civic organizations throughout the country," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "These organizations are crucial partners in serving seniors who face challenges in re-entering the workforce and attaining economic stability."
Sixteen one-year grants are being made to 15 national nonprofit organizations through the program's general funds or funds set aside by statute to serve Native Americans or Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. The grants will support more than 35,000 positions. In addition, state and territorial grantees that previously received funding through this program will continue to support more than 10,000 positions.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program, authorized by Title V of the Older Americans Act, is the only federally sponsored employment and training program targeted specifically to unemployed, low-income individuals age 55 and older. Individuals served by the grants receive training through part-time, service-oriented positions in their communities while earning the highest of the federal, state or local minimum wage. The program has dual goals of promoting community service and helping participants achieve economic self-sufficiency by guiding them into unsubsidized employment, where appropriate. Program participants provide more than 48 million hours of community service to public agencies and nonprofit organizations annually.
The Government Accountability Office reports in its paper "Unemployed Older Workers: Many Experience Challenges Regaining Employment and Face Reduced Retirement Security" that older workers who become unemployed tend to stay unemployed longer, and those who regain employment generally sustain greater wage losses than do younger workers. According to the 2011 SCSEP Customer Satisfaction Survey, program participants who attained unsubsidized employment indicated that SCSEP was very helpful in preparing them for a job.
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