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Senior Community Service Employment Program.

Individuals who are 55 years of age or older and who are looking for work may be able to get a job from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, or SCSEP. The assistance program was created by the U.S. Department of Labor for low income seniors who need a job or new skills in order to gain employment. Every year tens of thousands of individuals over the age of 55 benefit from this program. The positions generally start as community service type roles that can evolve into other full or part time work.

Applicants do need to meet certain qualifications, including income limits. The SCSEP program does have limited funding as well, so not everyone will be able to benefit from it.

This program was originally created and authorized by the Older Americans Act. It is one of the primary government programs that provide subsidized, service-based job training for low-income persons 55 or older who have poor employment prospects and who are currently unemployed.

Type of work for seniors from SCSEP

If you apply to the Senior Community Service Employment Program and are found to be eligible, individuals will initially more than likely be placed into a part time job that involves working in the community. In rare occasions full time work may be arranged too. That community service type job will be the typical starting position for a new candidate. The goal is to transition individuals into full time, more permanent employment opportunities with businesses that are also local to your community.

The program will only help low-income persons who are aggressively looking for a new job and who want to reenter the workforce. Guidelines for who can be assisted are created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor.




The federal government and the SCSEP team believe that everyone should be able to achieve the American Dream, regardless of their age. Having a full time job can promote economic self-sufficiency for older individuals, and the income can help people pay their bills and provide for their basic needs.

The program improves the employment opportunities for unemployed senior citizens and older Americans. It helps them bring many skills and experiences to employers to benefit them. It also promotes older individuals as a solution for businesses seeking reliable, trained, and qualified employees.

Benefits of the Senior Community Service Employment Program

Seniors will receive access to a number of services and resources. These can include free physical examination, job orientation, community service assignments, employment training opportunities, and a host of other supportive services. Participants will also have access to both SCSEP services and other employment assistance through One-Stop Career Centers that are located in every state.

Each candidate will also need to go through a full application and assessment process. A case manager will need to get information about the applicants previous work history, physical capabilities, interests and skills, potential for performing community service assignments, need for supportive services, and potential for transition to a full time regular job opportunity.





After you successfully enroll, you will be placed into some type of community service assignments. This can include a job with local non-profit and/or public facility, including hospitals, day-care centers, senior centers, and hospitals.

After you are placed, individuals will usually work up to 20 hours per week. The salary paid out will usually be minimum wage; however it will be the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. Some limited so called fringe benefits may also be paid out, depending on the position and where the candidate is placed.

SCSEP will provide candidates with both community services and work-based job training. Employees will be placed in a wide variety of community service activities, which will help them gain a diverse set of skills. Every non-profit or public employer may have their own specialties and job training programs. Seniors who are part of SCSEP will benefit from working at these various locations and can use all of the training and skills they gain in their quest for full time employment.

The more skills someone over 55 gains the better. After all it is intended that this part time job leads to full time employment opportunities for the individuals. Senior Community Service Employment Program goal is to place up to 30% of seniors into full time employment and positions.

Other Job Participant Services can include one or more of the following: Individual Employment Plan (IEP) development, fringe benefits, job orientation, community service placement, access to local One-Stop Career Centers, training specific to community service assignment, supportive services, wages, annual physicals, and assistance in securing full time unsubsidized employment. They also try to find other senior citizen focused jobs which may be easier on the body and have less stress.

Conditions, eligibility criteria, and who to contact

While each state may place its own conditions on the program, and criteria may change from year to year, in general program participants must be unemployed, at least 55 years of age, and meet certain low income thresholds.

The program does run in most states, however funding will vary every year as is determined by the U.S. Department of Labor and their budgeting process. Only a select number of qualified applicants will be able to benefit from the Senior Community Service Employment Program. To learn more, including whether this service is available in your region, contact a local community action agency for job programs.





Another place to try for information, or senior job placement, is an agency on aging center. These help older Americans get financial aid, benefits such as Meals on Wheels, and more. The non-profits provide career counseling as well as applications/workshops about Senior Community Service Employment Program. Find more information on these agency on aging agencies, including phone numbers and addresses.


By Jon McNamara

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