Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging receives grants

Published 2:45 pm Thursday, September 24, 2015

In 2015, the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging received two grants totaling $506,931 from Alabama Department of Senior Services and from Senior Service America Inc.

Almost 90 percent of this funding—originally from the U.S. Department of Labor—will pay wages and benefits to at least 87 low-income older adults living in Chilton, Blount Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties to work in temporary, part-time jobs through June 30, 2016.

These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program, established by the Older Americans Act 50 years ago, according to a release from Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging.

The grants are administered by USDOL. SCSEP is the only federal government program mandated to assist unemployed older adults seeking to rejoin the workforce.

For each of the last six years, the Alabama Department of Senior Services and Senior Service America, Inc., have awarded annual grants to Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging.

“These grants provide valuable on-the-job training opportunities for older individuals while supporting nonprofit and other community service agencies,” Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Carolyn Fortner said in a release.“We are grateful for this funding and for the partnership with the Alabama Department of Senior Services and with Senior Services America, Inc.”

While enrolled as SCSEP participants, the workers will be assigned to more than 70 local nonprofit and government agencies, including the Clanton Senior Center, Chilton County DHR, W.A. Bing LeCroy Career Technical Center, Peter Pan Daycare and Son Light Center.

The older workers also will receive on-the-job trainig to enhance their opportunities in the local job market, according to the release.

“This is a wonderful program that allows seniors who have either never been in the workforce or who have been out for several years, to transition back into the labor force”, Commissioner of the Department of Senior Services Neal Morrison said in a release. “SCSEP aids its participants in developing the skills necessary to be competitive in today’s workforce. Alabamans are fortunate to be served by the dedicated staff of the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging.”

Senior Service America Executive Director Tony Sarmiento said far too many low-income older adults are among the long-term unemployed.

“This program provides them with skills and renewed hope as they serve their community,” Sarmiento said in a release.

Formed and designated in 1989, Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) serves older individuals and their caregivers in Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties.

M4A is an Aging and Disability Resource Center with options and benefits counselors who work with consumers of all ages, including older individuals, people with disabilities, and caregivers, learn about and access long-term services and supports.

M4A’s mission is to help the consumer access information, assistance and resources that will empower them to self-advocate, live independently, and enjoy the highest quality of life.