Created in 1965, SCSEP is the nation’s oldest program to help low-income, unemployed individuals aged 55+ find work. SCSEP matches eligible older adults with part-time training assignments for non-profit organizations. Participants build skills and self-confidence, while earning a modest income. For most, their SCSEP experience leads to permanent employment.

SCSEP is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and is one of three federal workforce development programs that does not overlap with any other similar program. The program serves nearly every county in the nation. NCOA manages 25 SCSEP offices throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. NCOA’s work on SCSEP is funded at a 90% level by the U.S. Department of Labor and 10% is supported through matching non-federal dollars.[1]

NCOA Seeks Proposals to Operate Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is issuing Requests for Proposals (RFP) in the states listed below to qualified public or private non-profit 501(c)(3) agencies interested in operating the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Through this process, NCOA will award subgrants to qualified agencies to provide part-time community service employment/subsidized work experience opportunities to unemployed, low-income residents 55 and over.

The National Council on Aging administers the Senior Community Service Employment Program through a grant from the Department of Labor (DoL).  The total value of the grant for Program Year 2019 is $38,444,997, of which $34,600,497 (90%) is federally funded and $3,844,500 (10%) is from non-federal funding.

About the grants

The initial subgrant award is for 12 months starting July 1, 2020, and ending on June 30, 2021. (In the event that the Department of Labor is unable to complete the competition for national sponsors for the SCSEP in time to start the program year 1 July, 2020 they will start the PY 2020 grant on 1 October, 2020 and this first year of the grant will be funded for nine months instead of 12 months.) In both cases, there will be opportunities for renewal for successful subgrantees on an annual basis for up to five consecutive years following the period specified in this announcement. SCSEP funds are contingent upon the availability of federal funds, and renewals are not guaranteed and are always based on each subgrantee’s continued success in achieving specified grant performance, operational and financial goals.

Regions where grants are available

NCOA is seeking to fund grants in the following regions. Click on the name of each region to download the region-specific RFP and to learn more about the service area covered.

Information for all applicants

The following documents are applicable to all organizations/agencies intending to submit proposals under this RFP process.

For more information

If you have any questions related to the RFP, contact the Director of Operations listed in the RFP. Proposals are due no later than Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 4:00 PM ET.


Success by the Numbers

  • 65,081 low-income older Americans received paid training in FY15
  • More than 2,000 public and nonprofit agencies (like libraries and senior centers) are supported with more than 34 million staff hours
  • 51% of participants gained unsubsidized employment following the program
  • $820 million in community service provided by SCSEP participants – nearly twice the total appropriation for the program
  • 88% of participants reported the same or better physical health while working
  • 72% reported a better outlook on life while working

The training has been invaluable, uplifted and boosted my self confidence, and the pay has helped me to pay my bills in a timely fashion, instead of juggling like I usually have to.

Without SCSEP I would not be able to pay for Medicare Supplemental Insurance, car or rental insurance.

Without SCSEP I wouldn’t be able to support myself while I get more training to be able to get a good job.

This program has become a life saver for me. I can’t begin to tell you how important it is to me and my quality of life.

Although were older, all we need is a chance to prove ourselves that we can still work hard and SCSEP gives us that chance, our foot in the door to prove ourselves.

[1] For program year 2019, The National Council on Aging will administer the Senior Community Service Employment Program through a grant from the Department of Labor. The total value of the grant is $38,444,997, of which $34,600,497 (90%) is federally funded and $3,844,500 (10%) is from non-federal funding.

Information for Older Adults

Who is eligible for SCSEP?

To be eligible for SCSEP, you must be:

  • 55 or older
  • Unemployed
  • Living on a family income of no more than 125% of the federal poverty level (if you’re not sure, contact a local SCSEP office)

Who are SCSEP participants?

  • 32% are 65 or older; 13% are 70 or older
  • 65% are women; 49% are a racial or ethnic minority; 20% have at least one disability
  • 43% have one or more years of college; 39% have a high school diploma; 18% do not have a high school diploma
  • 13% are veterans or qualified spouses
  • 28% live in rural areas

How do I apply for SCSEP?

To apply, simply find your local SCSEP office to complete an application. If you’re eligible and there is no waiting list, you will be enrolled to train at a non-profit organization in your community.

**Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

What kind of training can I get?

You will be trained in all the skills you need to do your job, including using a computer. You will serve in a vital community service position such as (but not limited to):

  • Child care provider
  • Customer service representative
  • Teachers’ aide
  • Computer technician
  • Building maintenance worker
  • Health care worker

What are the hours and pay?

You will train an average of 20 hours a week and earn whichever is highest—the federal, state, or local minimum wage. Most participants are trained by the SCSEP for about six months before we help them find a permanent job.

I’d like to work as a direct care worker. Can SCSEP help?

Yes. We pioneered a program to train mature workers to be direct care providers to elderly and disabled persons who need non-medical assistance in their home. If you’re interested, please contact us to find your local NCOA SCSEP office.

Where can I get more information?

You can learn more about SCSEP at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Without SCSEP our organization would fall apart. I love my little helper, she is my right hand!! Our customers love having her help and we would never be able to finish our monthly projects without her!

Without SCSEP participants, we could not meet many of our goals and complete our mission. The Library’s public hours would be drastically reduced.

Without SCSEP, our organization would lose the specialized skill we have acquired in marketing and graphic design. This is not an area our budget would sufficiently cover without SCSEP.

Without SCSEP we would have to rely more on inconsistent volunteers.

Without SCSEP my organization would lose a whole department and would not be able to help people in the community.

Information for Employers

As an employer, SCSEP can help you find trained and qualified mature workers to fill important jobs in your organization.

How can my organization participate in SCSEP?

If you’re a nonprofit or public facility, you might be eligible to become a SCSEP training site. To be a training site, you must:

  • Have appropriate training for older workers
  • Offer diverse and quality training opportunities
  • Meet NCOA safety standards

Can SCSEP train mature workers to meet my organization’s exact needs?

Yes. We work directly with employers to provide qualified mature workers trained to their requirements. The program is called On-the-Job Experience (OJE).

Through OJE, the local SCSEP project agrees to pay all or part of a mature worker’s wages while he or she is being trained. Paperwork is kept to a minimum. The mature worker must be eligible for SCSEP, and certain limitations apply.

I’m looking for mature workers to serve as direct care workers. Can SCSEP help?

Yes. We’re pioneering a program to train mature workers to be direct care providers to elderly and disabled persons who need assistance in their home. We’re working with direct care agencies and PHI National to recruit and train mature workers to provide non-medical care.

With a special grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, NCOA conducted a three-year pilot project to train and place 300 mature workers in health care occupations. Over the course of the pilot, we trained over 350 mature health care workers in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

I’m interested in hosting SCSEP workers. What do I do now?

If you’re interested in becoming a SCSEP training site, please contact us to find your local NCOA SCSEP office.