DECATUR – The North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) has been awarded a $254,172 grant from Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI). Almost 90 percent of this grant – originally from the U.S. Department of Labor – will provide temporary employment to at least 48 low-income older adults living in Cullman, Lawrence and Morgan Counties. These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) a cornerstone program of the Older Americans Act.
SCSEP, the only federal job training program targeted exclusively to low-income seniors, promotes personal dignity and self-sufficiency through work. Its temporary part-time community service jobs provide a hand-up, not a hand-out, for older, unemployed low-income Americans. The program allows eligible persons to participate for up to four years, but the average tenure nationally is 18 months, with the experience and training they receive leading them to permanent employment.
"This is a great program that gives priority to seniors looking for part-time employment," said Cullman County Commission on Aging (COA) Director Dusty Baker. "Participants play a significant role in supporting the programs that the COA offers, including our Meals on Wheels program. Our goal is to keep seniors active and this is one of the many tools we utilize to promote that. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved."
To date, Senior Service America has placed over 12,000 older workers into permanent employment through the SCSEP program.
“Our long-term, local partners are a key to the strength of SSAI and provide the systems to train older Americans into strategic advantage for employers and the Country,” said Gary A. Officer, Senior Service America president and CEO. “We are very pleased to continue our support of the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments for the 41st consecutive year."
“This program positively impacts older adults and the whole community,” said Jeffrey Pruitt, executive director of NARCOG.
SCSEP participants are helping more than 20 local community nonprofits and public agencies including the Cullman County Public Library, Decatur Youth Services and Morgan County Archives carry out their mission. In addition, older workers are keeping healthy by remaining connected and active in their community.
“The grant through SSAI is vital to our being able to deliver this program in our region,” Pruitt said.
Visit www.narcog.org or call 1-800-AGE-LINE or 256-355-4515 for more information on programs and services to assist older adults and disabled individuals of any age. NARCOG serves individuals and communities in Cullman, Lawrence and Morgan Counties.