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ETA News Release: [01/31/2012]
Contact Name: Jason Kuruvilla or Joshua R. Lamont
Phone Number: (202) 693-6587 or x4661
Release Number: 12-0186-NAT

US Labor Department announces final rule adding volunteer service as performance measure for Senior Community Service Employment Program

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has issued a final rule amending the Senior Community Service Employment Program regulations to allow entry into volunteer work as an additional performance indicator. The rule will be effective on March 1.

"Many of America's seniors contribute richly to their communities through all forms of service," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates. "Incorporating this service into our program helps us better understand the contributions our seniors make."

The Senior Community Service Employment Program authorized by Title V of the Older Americans Act is the only federally-sponsored employment and training program targeted specifically to unemployed, low-income seniors. The program has dual goals of promoting community service and helping SCSEP participants achieve economic self-sufficiency by guiding them into unsubsidized employment, where appropriate.

The new indicator incorporated in the final rule will allow the department to better fulfill both goals by gathering more specific information about the breadth and depth of participation in SCSEP, and the positive impact that SCSEP has both on the lives of participants and the community. The indicator will capture data on several aspects of the volunteer work, including whether a participant had been performing volunteer work before involvement in the SCSEP program, the type of work, the setting in which the work is performed and the number of volunteer hours per week.

The final rule was prepared after further reflection upon comments received during an earlier SCSEP final rule notice and comment period in 2010; a number of commenters had highlighted the need to give greater weight to community service and volunteer work in the mix of SCSEP measures. A need to reinforce the dual purposes of SCSEP therefore served as the foundation for this final rule, and the comments received at the notice stage of this rulemaking were also very supportive of the new measure.

The final rule can be viewed on the Federal Register's website at