SCSEP celebrates its 55th anniversary in 2020. It has evolved from its beginnings as a pilot project funded under Operation Mainstream in 1965 to today’s program authorized by the United States Congress under Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965 reauthorized in 2016. 

The program is a response to the reality that many mature people have outdated skills, and economic challenges often result in older individuals losing their jobs and difficulties obtaining viable employment. SCSEP is the only federally mandated job training program that explicitly serves low-income adults age 55 years and older. SCSEP has a rich history of serving some of the most disadvantaged older Americans in the country, including minorities and those with multiple barriers to employment.

Since its inception in 1965, the SCSEP has been making a difference across our nation in both the lives of older workers and the communities in which they live and provide services.  Fifty-five years ago, the first SCSEP participants were working with the Green Thumb Project, which was sponsored by the National Farmers Union in 1965. Currently, SCSEP participants continue to contribute to their communities and, most importantly, learn new job skills that will enable them to become competitive in today’s job market.

Building on a legacy Fifty-five years of service is an extraordinary accomplishment.  We commend our esteemed colleagues and all the organizations that continue to make a difference in the lives of older workers in so many communities across the nation.

As we come together to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the SCSEP, it behooves us to take a minute to look back at the rich and varied history of this program as we, champions of SCSEP, continue to craft and guide its future. Throughout its history, SCSEP has enabled low-income older Americans to help themselves while helping others in their communities. We must continue to work diligently for all the disadvantaged older Americans who want to continue to work, learn and, contribute to their communities as they improve their economic well-being.