What is at Risk for States if the Senior Community Service Employment Program is Eliminated?

The Trump administration announced a preliminary 2018 budget proposal that included $2.5 billion in cuts for the Labor Department. While the administration did not identify all the proposed reductions, it did identify one program for elimination, the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) with total funding of $434 million. The administration said the program was ineffective. The most recent performance report issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, Workforce System Results for the quarter ending June 30, 2016, reported that most of the SCSEP programs exceeded their goals in 2015. 

SCSEP provides training for low-income, unemployed seniors. Participants must be at least age 55, unemployed and have a family income of no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty level. SCSEP participants gain work experience in a variety of community service activities at non-profit and public facilities, including schools, hospitals, day-care centers, and senior centers. The program provides over 40 million community service hours to public and non-profit agencies, allowing them to enhance and provide needed services. Participants work an average of 20 hours a week. This program is designed to foster individual economic self-sufficiency and promote employment of participants to unsubsidized employment in the public and private sectors. Funding is provided based on a total position cost of $9,698. 

The program is funded through national and state grants and currently funds a total of 43,637 community service positons nationwide, with associated funding of $423.2 million for program year 2016. 

National grants are competitively awarded to nonprofit organizations, federal public agencies and tribal organizations at the state level. Funding for national grants for program year 2016 totaled $332.5 million and funded 34,284 position. National grantees include AARP Foundation, Goodwill Industries International, Inc., and National Urban League. 

State grants are awarded based on the latest census counts of the eligible population and require a 10 percent state match. State grants for program year 2016 totaled $90.7 million for 9,353 positions. States may either designate a state agency or may select grantees through a competitive process. 

National and state grantees for each state may be found at the American Service Locator website.  

Since the allocations are based on population, it is little surprise that states with the largest population received the highest funding. California received the most funding, receiving $7.4 million in state grants and $28.9 million in national grants, for total funding of $36.2 million funds 3,732 positions. Alaska, Delaware and Hawaii all received funding of $1.8 million to fund 190 positons. The attached spreadsheet provides a listing of the state-by-state funding.  


The 62 agencies and programs Trump wants to eliminate, USA Today, March 17, 2017. 

U.S. Department of Labor, ETA, Training and Employment Guidance Letters No. 18-15, Change 1, Change 2, Change 3, Change 4.

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Workforce System Results for the Quarter Ending June 30, 2016