Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, released a statement on Sept. 7 after the Appropriations Committee restored $400 million in funding for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) – the only federal community service and work-based job training program for low-income or unemployed older Americans. Murphy has led Senate efforts to secure robust funding for SCSEP – which plays a critical role in helping seniors update their skills, save for retirement and contribute to their communities. The president proposed to completely eliminate the program in his FY 2018 budget.
The legislation will go to the Senate.
In 2016, Connecticut received nearly $4.7 million in SCSEP funding to train 480 seniors.
“Seniors across Connecticut depend on the Senior Community Service Employment Program to help them find work and pay their bills. It’s a win-win — they’re earning a living wage working at our schools, hospitals, and libraries and making our communities stronger,” said Murphy. “I’m relieved that we’re another step closer to saving this program.”
“SCSEP plays a significant role in helping older, unemployed adults that frequently become invisible as job candidates even though they have skills that can help employers,” said Joseph Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace. “Our great appreciation goes to Senator Murphy and the Senate Appropriations Committee for helping to secure funding for SCSEP to support tens of thousands of older workers facing significant employment barriers.”
SCSEP fosters economic self-sufficiency for older, low-income adults by providing tangible job skills training through community service assignments at non-profit and public facilities. Participants are unemployed, low-income individuals, ages 55 years and older with poor employment prospects.
Murphy said older Americans often struggle to find jobs when unemployed, taking 40 weeks on average compared to 24 weeks for their younger counterparts. Coupled with a looming retirement savings crisis, where a majority of older Americans do not have nearly enough saved for retirement, this period of long-term unemployment has disastrous effects on older Americans.