Recovery Act Assists Workers 55 and Older

Wednesday, April 08, 2009 | 02:12 pm

Senior Workers Program Receives $484,100 

NASHVILLE – Unemployed low-income Tennesseans age 55 and older will soon see additional training and employment opportunities as a result of a $484,100 grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money will be used to expand the existing Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), aimed at helping older workers with poor employment prospects.
 
“This Recovery Act grant will increase significantly the number of older adults that will benefit from training and skills enhancements that will allow them to become more competitive in the current job market,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “Now more than ever, it is important to continue training our workforce to keep employees and companies competitive.”
 
Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley said the stimulus money will allow 40 additional seniors to be enrolled in the program and will offer new job opportunities with employers. Through the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development, SCSEP currently provides employment and training to 239 people at a time in 33 Tennessee counties. The Department of Labor & Workforce Development is in the process of partnering with the Department of Safety and the Department of Environment and Conservation to create more work sites.
 
“We’re pleased senior workers in Tennessee will get a boost from the recently passed stimulus package,” said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley. “Because of the current economic downturn, a lot of seniors are facing difficult times and seeing a need to re-enter the labor force. Right now it is particularly harder for older workers to find work because they are competing with people of all ages who often have more current job skills.”
 
To be eligible for SCSEP community service jobs, a person’s family income must not be more than 125 percent of the federal poverty income level. Program enrollees are paid the federal minimum wage for 20 hours a week and can stay in the program for up to 48 months.
 
The Department of Labor & Workforce Development administers SCSEP through six agencies for 33 counties in Tennessee. People who live in one of those counties who are interested in applying to participate in SCSEP should call Grants Program Manager Tyrone Parker at 615.253.5869 or contact one of the following six agencies directly:
 
Upper East TN Human Development Agency
Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, and Washington counties
Ph: 423.246.6180
 
East TN Human Resource Agency
Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan, Scott, and Union counties
Ph: 865.691.2551
 
Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency
Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Putman, Van Buren, Warren, and White counties
Ph: 931.528.1127
 
Tennessee Community Services Agency
Cheatham, Dyer, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Stewart, Obion, and Weakley counties
Ph: 731.884.2640
 
Hardeman County Literacy Council
Chester, Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy counties
Ph: 731.658.4106
 
Meritan, Inc.
Shelby County
Ph: 901.766.0600
 
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will speed economic recovery, create and save jobs, and provided needed services to Tennesseans. For more information, visit www.tnrecovery.gov or www.recovery.gov, or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Recovery Web page at: www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/EconomicFunding.html.
 
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