Senior Community Service Employment Program

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The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a program of the United States Department of Labor, its Employment and Training Administration, to help more senior citizens get back into or remain active in the labor workforce. It is a community service and work-based training program.[1] It does this through job skill training and employment assistance with an emphasis on getting a ready job with a suitable and cooperating company or organisation. In such a setting, the worker is paid the United States minimum wage, or the highest of Federal, State or local minimum wage, or the prevailing wage, for an average of 20 hours per week, and experiences on-the-job learning and newly acquired skills use. The intention is that through these community jobs, the older worker will gain a permanent job, not subsidized by federal government funds.

People who are 55 or older can obtain job training and job search services from SCSEP. In each area of the country, SCSEP services are accessed through local organizations. These are usually nonprofits, but sometimes a state agency will administer the program.

Eligibility guidelines[edit]

The participant must be at least 55 years of age and from a family receiving regular cash welfare payments or with an annual family income of no more than 25% over the Federal poverty level as defined by the United States Census Bureau. There are certain exclusions in the income calculation, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).[2]

Enrollment priority is given to persons over age 60, veterans, and qualified spouses of veterans. Preference is given to minority, limited English-speaking, and Indian eligible individuals. Preference is also given to eligible individuals who have the greatest economic need.

History[edit]

SCSEP was authorised by the United States Congress in Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965 [3] and its later amendments [4] to provide subsidized, part-time, community service work based training for low-income persons age 55 or older who have poor employment prospects. The program has evolved significantly in the last 50 years. The program is administered by nonprofit organizations and local government agencies.

Controversy[edit]

Experience Works, Inc., was historically the largest provider of SCSEP services. In 2015, the grantee overspent the grant by $1.6 million dollars which was a disallowed cost in the DOLETA monitoring report. The management and board at that time used unrestricted and accrued annual leave to cover the cost of the over spending. There were also some charges by the management during that time such as the use of first-class travel, pet hotels, fruit bouquets, personal loans to the CEO, and frequent credit card use on entertainment and prohibited lobbying. In 2014, the organization established an LLC, and used accrued annual leave funds to purchase a software platform. Since then those funds have been paid back. [5] Experience Works and SWIFT Technologies continue to share the same CEO, staff, and office space. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a follow up report critical of current management for not taking any corrective actions to restore funds. The current management is working to raise funds. [6] As a result, the U.S. Department of Labor has revamped the funding for SCSEP and the Inspector General has expanded the investigation into the activities of the previous management.[7] Former and current employees, reported to the DOL and OIG activities that occurred by the previous management that were concerning. In September, 2016 the Inspector General issued a preliminary report describing the organization as financial insolvent and took steps to curtail and eliminate federal funding.[8]

Funding[edit]

SCSEP has received stable funding of $434,371,000 during the last several years.

The most recent budget proposal from the White House would eliminate the program entirely.[9]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ US Department of Labor, ETA, "About SCSEP"
  2. ^ US Department of Labor, ETA, "Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 12-06, December 28, 2006.
  3. ^ United States Code, US Code Section 42 , Chapter 35, Subchapter IX, § 3056 - Older American Community Service Employment Program
  4. ^ United States Public Law, Amended Public Law for Title V Public Law 106–501—NOV. 13, 2000 114 STAT. 2267, Title V—Amendment to Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965, Section 501.
  5. ^ U.S. Department of Labor, Monitoring Report, December 18, 2015. [1]
  6. ^ U.S. Department of Labor, Report to Sally A. Boofer, 2016. [2]
  7. ^ U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. [3]
  8. ^ Office of Inspector General, September 30, 2016 [4]
  9. ^ U.S. Department of Labor

External links[edit]