May 9, 2017
Congress Reduces Investment in Older Adult Employment Training through SCSEP by $34,000,000
By: Dr. Wes Lum

Contact: Wes Lum, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, (206) 624-1221

A long-overdue fiscal year 2017 spending bill passed on May 4, 2017 will provide the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP) with $400 million to continue providing community service employment for older Americans, which is a reduction of $34,000,000 from the previous fiscal year.

SCSEP is funded through Title V of the Older Americans Act and is the only federal job training program focused exclusively on helping Americans return to the workforce. The program assists low-income unemployed adults aged 55 years and older by providing job training through temporary paid work experiences that can lead to unsubsidized employment.

In 2016, 65,170 older Americans in 56 states and territories received on-the-job training at 20,000 local nonprofit and government programs, including libraries, senior centers, and schools. In total, SCSEP participants provided nearly 35 million staffing hours to these local programs with the value of work exceeding $820 million, according to Independent Sector estimates.

Since 1989, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) has fostered economic self-sufficiency among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) older adults through SCSEP. In fiscal year 2016, NAPCA SCSEP served just under 1,000 participants through 10 project sites in eight states and partnered with over 420 nonprofit organizations that contributed more than $1.17 million of in-kind support back into the communities. In addition, approximately 668,000 hours of community service were provided by NAPCA SCSEP participants at a value of over $15 million.

“The continued funding of SCSEP will enable NAPCA to continue making a positive impact on the economic self-sufficiency of our nation’s AAPI older workers” says David Cohen, NAPCA Board Chairman. In the past performance year, 95% of NAPCA SCSEP participants had a family income at or below the federal poverty line and as a result of this training program, 77.6% of those participants entered and retained employment.


NAPCA’s mission is to preserve and promote the dignity, well-being, and quality of life of Asian American and Pacific Islanders as they age.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.