Text of video presentation by Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration, U. S. Department of Labor

2009 SSAI Annual SCSEP Conference

Sept. 1, 2009
Memphis, Tenn.

Hello to all of the members of Senior Service America, Inc. and thank you for this opportunity to show you my appreciation for your dedication and hard work.

In 2008, the SCSEP program provided more than 60 million hours of service nationally to the community generating a community service value of nearly $1 billion, double its annual appropriation. SSAI participants alone have completed nearly 5.5 million hours of service to the community at a value over $107 million. SSAI and its subgrantees continue to serve as a key partner to the Department of Labor providing SCSEP services to the hardest to serve communities since 1968. Most recently, SSAI has enrolled over 1,500 new SCSEP participants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed, and I commend you on your dedication to excellence in meeting the needs of the older worker community.

While traveling throughout the country, I have had the opportunities to see firsthand the positive impact SCSEP and SSAI have on communities. I have had the pleasure to meet hundreds of people who, without this organization and others like SSAI, would have had little hope and almost no opportunity to show their immense value to the American workforce.

As the graying of the American workforce continues, it becomes incumbent upon SSAI to continue developing a new approach that best prepares older workers for today’s workplace challenges. I would like to encourage all of you to develop innovative community service assignments for participants and to recruit new SCSEP participant host agencies. It is through the diversification of participant training opportunities that program participants will experience the greatest success. In that same vein, we must work together to ensure that all SCSEP participants have a high quality community service assignment that develops new skill sets, strengthens self-confidence, and helps meet the needs of their communities.

Lastly SSAI must continue to seek out new partnerships that will create additional opportunities toward green jobs and other emerging job sectors. The older worker community has served as the backbone of this country’s workforce; and with the help of SSAI, the older worker will continue to play a critical role in the rebuilding of our country’s workforce.

Please know that my door is always open, and that the entire ETA team is dedicated to strengthening the SCSEP program. It is through open communication and feedback that we can continue to develop stronger programming aimed at meeting the needs of the hardest to serve. Please feel free to contact my office at any time with success stories, recommendations, and concerns.

In closing, Secretary Solis and I remain committed to creating employment opportunities that ensure the availability of a good job for everyone. And we look to SSAI as a key partner in continuing to reach toward that goal.

On behalf of Secretary Solis, I thank you for all of your hard work and I wish you a wonderful conference. Enjoy your time in Memphis.