Goodwill helping 55-and-older workforce find employment

Goodwill and its Senior Community Service Employment Program, which offers training and paid employment for low-income persons 55 years of age or older, forecasts at least 100 openings in Pierce County and 10 other Washington counties through next July.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based training program for older workers. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and run through Goodwill, the program provides subsidized, service-based training for low-income seniors who are unemployed and have poor job prospects.
When combined with Goodwill’s other training programs, seniors can receive training in office, culinary, barista, catering, retail, custodial, warehouse, transportation/logistics, construction and other careers, according to Goodwill officials.
Participants train for an average of 15 to 20 hours a week, and are paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. When ready, they are placed in temporary training at a wide variety of community service activities at non-profit and public facilities, including daycare centers, senior centers, schools and hospitals. The community service training and temporary employment serves as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities.
The program, which lasts up to four years, moves participants off of welfare, food stamps and other public assistance. Seniors gainfully employed also spend their income on the local economy, benefitting businesses and services in the area, according to JoLynn Dunavant, SCSEP manager in Pierce County.
“Program participants receive assistance with developing an individual employment plan, along with community service placement and training specific to that service assignment,” said Dunavant. “They also receive additional training identified in their individual plans, and supportive services, wages, fringe benefits, annual physicals, and assistance in securing unsubsidized employment.”
Dunavant can be reached at 253-573-6759 to apply for the program.
In addition to Pierce County, Goodwill is offering the program in Thurston County, Clallam County, Cowlitz County, Grays Harbor, Jefferson County, Lewis County, Mason County, Kittitas County, Klickitat County and Yakima County.
Across the U.S. there are approximately 46,000 participants in the program, with a 44 percent success rate in transitioning participants to unsubsidized employment, officials said.
In its Olympics and Rainier regions of Washington, Goodwill this year expects to help 9,000 people with education, job-training and placement so they can become independent and self-supporting. Of those, nearly 2,700 people will be offered jobs in office, culinary, barista, catering, retail, custodial, warehouse, transportation/logistics construction and other careers through partnerships with 1,000.
The career-development and placement services are funded through financial gifts, grants, fees, commercial services and the proceeds of 34 thrift stores throughout our western and south central Washington.