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The Center Awarded $191 million, 4-year Workforce Development Grant

September 30, 2020

Economic opportunity for 25K low-income, older workers

The Center for Workforce Inclusion, formerly Senior Service America, has been awarded a $191 million, four-year grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to administer the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP, a cornerstone program of the Older Americans Act, promotes personal dignity and self-sufficiency through work. Under this grant, the Center will provide workforce development and supporting services to approximately 25 thousand older, low-income workers nationwide over a four-year period.

The Department of Labor projects that older workers will represent the largest single segment—25%—of our labor force by 2024. These same workers, however, are the most vulnerable to sustained periods of unemployment, underemployment, ageism, and skill obsolescence. COVID-19 has only intensified the labor force obstacles facing low-income, older workers.

Older job seekers are vibrant, productive, and dependable. But they are suffering. They struggle to return to a post-COVID workplace with greater competition, fewer employers, and a need for different skills. The training and guidance we provide, through programs like SCSEP, is a vital path for them to acquire sustainable, meaningful work.

Gary A. Officer, President & CEO

SCSEP is the only federally funded program to support eligible workers age 55 and over with the training they need to enter or reenter the workforce. Supporting older job seekers is needed now more than ever. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of Americans age 55 and older increased from 2.6% in January to 7.7% in August. Long-term unemployment, which captures individuals who have been looking for work for 27 weeks or more, tells a more distressing story. Fourteen percent of jobseekers ages 55 and older were long-term unemployed.

Racial and ethnic minorities face the highest barriers as they attempt to reenter the workforce. According to ProPublica, the unemployment rate for Black workers ages 55 and older increased from 3% in January to 11% in July.  Older, Black workers in households earning less than $25,000 annually is significantly higher. Unemployment among this group increased from 4% in January to 19% in July.

We are proud of our long-standing relationship with DOL, ,” said Christine Garland, Vice President of Workforce Development. “Since our first grant when the Older Americans Act was enacted in 1965, we have helped nearly half-a-million older job seekers, half of whom are minorities, to find employment.

Christine Garland, Vice President of Workforce Development

The grant will be distributed in annual increments subject to Congressional appropriation. For more information, please visit our

SCSEP Program page.