Goodwill to open up senior employment program

A successful employment program for low-income seniors will be expanding operations on Grays Harbor starting next month.

Tacoma Goodwill’s Longview Operations will be opening its Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) enrollment to more than the 17 current Grays Harbor participants due to a decrease in enrollments and some extra funds in the organization, according to program manager Paul Spears, SCSSEP program manager.

SCSSEP is a subsidized community service and work-based training program for those 55 years of age or older who are unemployed and have poor employment prospects.

The participants will train an average of 15 to 20 hours a week, and are paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. They are placed in a variety of community service activities at non-profit and public facilities, including day-care centers, senior centers, schools and hospitals. As of now, there is no limit to the amount of participants they will consider for the program, according to Spears.

The training serves as a bridge to non-subsidized employment opportunities. In addition to the skills each participant will learn at specific locations throught the county, “everybody gets some kind of specialized computer training as well,” according to Spears. Employers are asked to consider the participant should a non-subsidized position become available in which the duties are similar. Spears said they hope to have at least 30 or 40 percent of participants in a work position by the end of their training.

This is just one of the programs the Goodwill funds through collections of its thrift shop revenue and public donations to fuel programs that help people with limited income, disabilities and disadvantages overcome barriers to employment.

The program expects to help 9,000 people in total with education, job training and placement “so they can become independent self-supporting citizens,” says the release. “ Of these more than 2,200 people will be offered office, culinary, catering, retail, custodial, warehouse, transportation and logistics careers thanks to partnerships with 800 companies across Washington.”

Those interested in more information on the program can visit Tacoma Goodwill’s website at