Goodwill Industries of Greater Chattanooga announced Wednesday that it was awarded a $637,851 workforce inclusion grant from the Center for Workforce Inclusion, Inc. Almost 90 percent of this grant – originally from the U.S. Department of Labor – will provide on-the-job training to no less than 106 low-income older Tennesseans living in Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, and Rhea Counties. This workforce inclusion grant will allow Goodwill Industries of Greater Chattanooga to operate its Senior Community Service Employment Program.
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 Chattanooga Goodwill Industries, Inc. for the 9th consecutive year.”
“SCSEP was incredibly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Emily McHenry, Chief Mission Integration officer for Goodwill Industries of the Greater Chattanooga Area. 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.
Locally SCSEP participants provide approximately 50,000 hours a year to community organizations such as the Salvation Army of Cleveland, Habitat for Humanity of Chattanooga, Family Promise of Chattanooga, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, The Caring Place, Olivet Baptist Church and the McMinn Senior Activity Center.
“Working with the SCEP Program through Goodwill Industries has been a godsend as well as a pleasure,” said Diane Hutsell, executive director of the McMinn Senior Activity Center. “Our goal is to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and economic well-being. We would not be able to accomplish all these programs without our SCSEP workers.”