During the AARP Foundation Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) annual meeting in Orlando, FL, the Foundation’s Denver SCSEP office was honored for placing more than 50 SCSEP trainees – all low-income people age 55+ – in permanent jobs throughout the June 2010 – July 2011 program year.
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Denver SCSEP project director Sandra Wagner accepted the award on behalf of the staff.
SCSEP is the only program in the U.S. that provides community services and work-based training to unemployed older Americans (55+) whose incomes are at or below 125 percent ($13,613) of the federal poverty line. With 73 sites, AARP Foundation is SCSEP’s second-largest national sponsor. For over the past 40 years, AARP Foundation SCSEP has helped more than 500,000 low-income, jobless seniors find work.
AARP Foundation SCSEP places its trainees in a community service nonprofit organizations and agencies, including local day-care centers, VA hospitals, museums, Meals on Wheels and schools. In return for their help, the agencies provide SCSEP trainees with training and skill-building opportunities. SCSEP trainees, who are paid minimum wage by the U.S. Department of Labor and work 18 hours a week on average, earn about $130 per week.
“At a time when it takes unemployed people 55 and older more than a year on average to find new jobs and community agencies and nonprofits are facing unprecedented budget cuts, SCSEP works wonders for everyone involved in it,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, the president of AARP Foundation. “Low-income older people who have lost their jobs learn new, transferable skills. The nonprofits and government agencies who help train them benefit from their free, reliable services. And the employers who eventually put our SCSEP trainees on their payrolls know they are hiring mature, responsible people who are willing, eager and able to work hard for them,” she said.
In 2010, AARP Foundation’s SCSEP saved trainee host agencies and taxpayers $200 million with its social return on benefits (SROI), including $192 million host agencies save in wages by using volunteer SCSEP trainees. “This is a time of record unemployment and hardship among the elderly poor in the U.S.,” Deb Briceland-Betts, AARP Foundation SCSEP’s national director, said. “The services we provide are crucial not only to our SCSEP trainees and host agencies, but to the communities they serve.”