The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the largest federally-funded program specifically targeting older adults seeking employment and training assistance. Authorized by Title V of the Older Americans Act (OAA), SCSEP started in 1965 as Operation Mainstream, a demonstration program funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity. It employed about 300 older men in rural community beautification projects in four states. This year, more than 125,000 SCSEP participants—older women and men—were employed in a wide range of programs, including those serving other older adults, in nearly every county in every state.
Clients receives valuable work experience and skill training while assisting a host agency in delivering essential community services for 20 hours a week at minimum wage.
SCSEP Provides Jobs, Promotes Well-Being, and Meets Community Needs
Providing jobs to unemployed, low-income older adults has been a core mission of SCSEP throughout its history. In 2006, the Congressional Research Service described SCSEP as "the primary job creation program for adults" since Congress in 1982 eliminated public service employment under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA).
Applying for the Program
This program serves people age 55+, who are legal residents of one of our 16 counties and meet the 125% poverty guideline. Those eligible for this program must meet these same guidelines.
Information needed for the application process include the following:
- Copies of financial statements
- Proof of income
- Social security card
- Drivers license
- Proof of number in household
The counties served by SCSEP include: Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Lincoln, Moore, Marshall, Maury, Perry, Wayne, Giles, Lewis, Lawrence, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Marion, and Grundy.
Franklin County, Home Office
Ms. Betty Chatman, a left arm amputee, works at the Coffee County Senior Center in Tullahoma, TN. Prior to her assignment with the SCSEP/Title V program, she was withdrawn, unsure of herself, no self-esteem, and was a recluse. She did not feel she could go out and be accepted; therefore, she stayed at home all the time. Ms. Chatman was afraid to go out and try new things as she felt she would be treated differently by the world and was unsure of what she could do. She would not go into the Job Force for fear of discrimination.
Since her placement as a Nutrition Aide at the Senior Center, Ms. Betty’s self-esteem has skyrocketed. She has opened herself up to people and is not afraid to go out and try new things. She stated she does things differently than other people but she gets them done.
Ms. Chatman said her co-workers are wonderful people, and the Senior Center is a wonderful place to work. The people are great to her, don’t treat her any differently, and help her when needed. A few of her duties are to serve meals and pack cold packs. The line is set up from left to right which has been a blessing to her as she can move easily through the kitchen putting the meals together and packing them.
At the center, she was able to take a painting class for over a year. She stated she had always wanted to learn to paint, but with her disability, did not think it would be possible.
Because of this program, Ms. Betty’s life has changed for the better. She lives alone and is very independent. Not to mention, the program has made it possible for her to pay her bills and not have that stress on her.