Regional Planning Commission receives funds for training older, low-income workers

Published 7:30 am Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission announced that it was awarded a $310,877 workforce inclusion grant from the Center for Workforce Inclusion, Inc. (Center). Almost 90 percent of this grant — originally from the U.S. Department of Labor — will provide on-the-job training to no less than 52 low-income older Alabamians living in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties. This workforce inclusion grant will support Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission operate its Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

For 60 years, the center has worked with older, low-income job seekers overlooked by traditional workforce programs. Both directly and through a nation-wide network of local partners, the Center empowers older job seekers to attain in-demand skills, overcome barriers to employment, and secure employment. Workforce inclusion grants, including those grants supporting the operation of SCSEP, are a critical element of the Center’s mission.

In its 56th year, SCSEP is a cornerstone program of the Older Americans Act and the only federal job training program targeted exclusively to low-income, older jobseekers. Job seekers who participate in SCSEP become skilled, reskilled and/or upskilled to meet the local employment needs in their community.

“Older adults will soon be the largest single segment of the American workforce.” said Gary A. Officer, Center for Workforce Inclusion President and CEO. “It is an economic necessity that we ensure our older jobseekers are equipped with the tools required to be successful in the workforce. Therefore, I am very pleased to continue our support of the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission for the 48th consecutive year.”

“SCSEP was a godsend during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Scott Farmer, Executive Director of SEARP&DC. Jobseekers participating in SCSEP were able to keep training from home. And now, the majority of SCSEP jobseekers are back at their training sites where they help local community, faith-based, and public agencies carry out their mission, such as the Wiregrass 2-1-1 and Wiregrass Area Food Bank. “We are so fortunate to be partnering with the Senior Employment program for over 15 years,” said David Duke, Wiregrass 2-1-1 Executive Director. By working in SCSEP positions, SCSEP is providing hope and dignity to low-income jobseekers 55 and older who have the toughest employment challenges. The grant from the Center is essential to our being able to deliver this program in our community.