SCSEP Program

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

In October 2016, NEW Solutions was awarded a multiyear grant from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to serve as the prime recipient for community service training positions in northern California. In 2020, NEW Solutions was awarded positions throughout the state of Wyoming in addition to those in northern California.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based job training program for older Americans. Authorized by the Older Americans Act, the program provides training for low-income, unemployed seniors.

SCSEP participants gain work experience in a variety of community service activities at non-profit and public facilities, including schools, hospitals, day-care centers, and senior centers. The program participants provide community service hours to public and non-profit agencies, allowing those organizations to enhance and provide needed services. Participants work an average of 20 hours a week, and are paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. This training serves as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities for participants.

Participants must be at least 55, unemployed, and have a family income of no more than 125% of the federal poverty level. Enrollment priority is given to veterans and qualified spouses, then to individuals who are over 65, have a disability, have low literacy skills or limited English proficiency, reside in a rural area, are homeless or at risk of homelessness, have low employment prospects, or have failed to find employment after using services through the American Job Center system.

NEW Solutions’s SCSEP program is funded by a $2.25 million grant from the USDOL-ETA. This funding provides 90% of the support for SCSEP, with the NEW Solutions matching 10% ($250 thousand). NEW Solutions operates SCSEP in Wyoming and Northern California.

History of SCSEP

SCSEP is the only federally mandated job training program that explicitly serves low income adults, age 55 years and older. It was first authorized under Title II of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and funded in 1965 as part of a demonstration project called Operation Mainstream. Operation Mainstream objective was broader than just older adults, but seniors were one targeted population. Operation Mainstream was run by national nonprofit agencies until 1973 when the older worker component of Operation Mainstream was converted from a pilot project to an established program under Title IX of the OAA. The amendment modified the program to allow both state governments as well as national nonprofit agencies to receive funds. In 1978, the program was re-designated as Title V of the Older Americans Act, and this is still the statutory authorization of the program today.