By 2024, older workers will represent the largest single segment—25 percent of the labor force in the United States. For more than forty years, Supportive Services Corporation has been assisting older job seekers by providing free employment and training services in Erie County.
The free employment services are available to job seekers age 55 and over who reside in Erie County. These services include resume preparation and job search assistance. Also provided is a workshop, “Making Your Age an Asset,” designed to build confidence and navigate aspects of searching, obtaining, and retaining employment.
The training component of services available are provided through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
What is SCSEP?
The SCSEP is a community service and work-based job training program. Authorized by the Older Americans Act, the program provides training for low-income, unemployed people age 55 and older.
SCSEP participants gain work experience in a variety of community service assignments at non-profit, governmental, and public agencies (host agency worksites). Participants work an average of 20 hours a week and are paid New York State minimum wage. This training serves as a bridge to civic engagement and skills enhancement and leads to unsubsidized employment opportunities for participants.
Formal and informal training is provided at host agency worksites. SCSEP provides full financial responsibility (wages, state mandated fringe benefits, workers compensation, and general liability) for participants placed in a host agency worksite.
An agency interested in becoming a host agency worksite must be a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 or a governmental/public agency to qualify. Worksites are selected to furnish supervision, instruction. and training for assigned SCSEP participants.
SCSEP’s triple win
SCSEP delivers a “triple win” for our community by promoting healthy aging, offering employment opportunities for low-income older Americans, and providing a labor force to programs and agencies to help serve more people and do more good. Two-thirds of the low-income older Americans participating in SCSEP are women, almost half are from a racial or ethnic minority, and almost 65 percent are age 55-64.
SCSEP participant requirements
Participants must be at least 55, unemployed, and have a family income of no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty level.
Enrollment priority is given to veterans and qualified spouses of veterans, 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 local workforce development system.
The SCSEP is funded by a grant from the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, the Center for Workforce Inclusion (formerly Senior Service America, Inc.), and operated locally by Supportive Services Corporation through subcontract with the Erie County Department of Senior Services.
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
For more information, visit supportiveservices.org or contact:
Supportive Services Corporation
245 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14222
716-881-6350, Ext. 11
Anita Wolniewicz is project director of SCSEP.