WHCOA 2015 & Commentaries

WHCOA 2015 Blog

SCSEP delivers Encore Network’s “triple win.”

July 2015 | Tony Sarmiento

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Senior Service America and its 81 local partner organizations in 16 states are pleased that the draft WHCOA Healthy Aging policy brief highlights the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) as well as the Senior Corps programs.

Fifty years ago, Congress and President Johnson launched these programs because they envisioned a Great Society which recognized that poorer older Americans were willing and able to achieve what the Encore Network calls for in its paper for the 2015 WHCOA: “deliver a triple win for America—at the intersection of healthy aging, economic security and social impact.”

Today, SCSEP, the Foster Grandparents Program, and Senior Companions Program enable more than 100,000 older Americans to deliver this “triple win” despite their low incomes and other disadvantages not experienced by their better-off peers.

The U.S. Department of Labor collects data that demonstrate SCSEP’s “triple win”:

  • Social Impact.
    • SCSEP participants provided more than 35.7 million staff hours to 30,000 local public and nonprofit agencies, such as libraries, schools, and senior centers last year. The value of these community service hours—using Independent Sector estimates—exceeded $806 million, nearly twice the total SCSEP appropriations of $432 million. (Source: USDOL official reports, 2014)
    • 76% of host agencies indicated that participation in SCSEP either significantly or somewhat increased their ability to provide services to the community (Source: national survey of 7,446 agencies funded by USDOL conducted by Charter Oak Group, 2014.)
    • In a Digital Inclusion Initiative between 2009 and 2012, more than 550 SCSEP participants served as peer coaches in 354 sites and taught more than 25,000 older learners how to create and use an email account and search the Internet.

In summary, SCSEP and Senior Corps are helping to make the encore movement more diverse and less exclusive. Let’s build on these programs’ track records as models of innovation, scalability, and efficiency as we develop our national aging, community service, and workforce policies for the next decade.

Past Commentaries


Comments submitted online by SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento supporting the proposed additional indicator designed to complement the existing core performance indicators for SCSEP, but recommending specific revisions to the proposed regulations.


Statement by SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento advocating for SCSEP as a person-centered aging program with workforce and community service goals, for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs to serve larger numbers of older adults, and for more appropriate coordination between SCSEP and WIA. This joint listening session was the first ever convened by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging.

Statement by SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento calling for a reauthorized Title V that elevates the status of community service and prepares low-income disadvantaged adults to become advocates and agents of change.


Letter from SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento to the Corporation advocating for engaging more older adults in national and community service through increased collaboration among the Corporation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Administration on Aging.

Statement by SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento calling for the Corporation and the U.S. Department of Labor to strengthen coordination between the Corporation’s programs and the Senior Community Service Employment Program in response to the economic crisis.


Letters from six national aging organizations and six state units on aging submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor in response to proposed SCSEP regulations issued in August 2008 (compiled by SSAI).

Letter from SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento arguing that the proposed regulations do not conform with the 2006 Older Americans Act and will have a negative impact on the program.


Joint letter signed by Asociacion Nacional Pro Personas Mayores, National Able Network, National Asian Pacific American Center on Aging, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, National Indian Council on Aging, and Senior Service America, Inc. expressing concern that the proposed performance measures will have major unintended negative effects on SCSEP and service to minority seniors.


Statement by SSAI executive director Tony Sarmiento, including written comments submitted June 2006 in response to follow up questions.