Older workers have been described as the “new unemployables” in a 2010 brief by the Heldrich Center.
Those who meet the eligibility requirements for SCSEP are experiencing exceptionally prolonged unemployment in the current economy. In 2010 the unemployment rate of older adults 55-74 years of age who were likely to be eligible for SCSEP was 21%, more than three times the national average for all older workers. Among displaced workers 55 and older, the reemployment rate was only 38%, the lowest of any age group, with those from lower income households and with a high school education or less faring the worst.
Finally, the average duration of unemployment among adults 55 and over currently exceeds 52 weeks, with more than half of all older jobseekers out of work for 27 or more weeks. (More information is available from the AARP and Senior Service America websites.)
In conclusion, eliminating funding for SCSEP by shifting its cost to local host agencies would 1) sharply reduce employment and training opportunities for economically disadvantaged older adults in a time of exceptional need and 2) eliminate a highly valued staffing resource to thousands of vital but strapped local programs serving their communities in nearly every county of the nation.