Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act Threatens Job Prospects for Older Adults

Last month, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, introduced the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act (H.R. 3610). If passed, the Act will repeal many job training programs targeted to meet the needs of specific, at risk populations. Cuts include programs such as Jobs Corp, Wagner-Peyser and Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), the principle job creation program for low-income older adults.

SCSEP is the largest federally funded program designed to target unemployed, low-income elders. It provides job training, placement services, counseling and community service assignments that help low-income seniors build economic security. Because older workers are four-times more likely to face unemployment than their younger counterparts, SCSEP addresses the unique needs of the elder community. Although Rep. Foxx declared the workforce education programs currently in place “hopelessly redundant and expensive,” in 2010 SCSEP employed over 100,000 participants nationwide.

If passed, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act will eliminate a program that is currently aiding thousands of unemployed seniors, 89% of whom live at or below the poverty level. Because SCSEP distinctively caters to the needs of seniors, its removal will almost certainly damage the prospect of employment for many older adults.

Sahdia Khan
Elder Economic Security Initiative Intern 

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