- Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
(OMB Control No. 1205-0040)
b. 2. The State’s long-term strategy for engaging employers to develop and promote opportunities for the placement of SCSEP participants in unsubsidized employment. (20 CFR 641.302(e)) (May alternatively be discussed in the State strategies section of strategic plan.)
Alabama SCSEP sub-grantees have well-established partnerships with local Chambers of Commerce. Sub-grantees often attend meetings in order to network with local business representatives. Through training provided by Senior Service America, sub-grantees regularly get on a Chamber’s agenda to engage employers by promoting both SCSEP and job ready participants.
Other employer outreach training provided to sub-grantees focuses on showing how to approach the hidden job market by establishing relationships with their local, county and state economic development councils and accessing their press releases of future or growing business announcements. ADSS staff trains sub-grantees to approach these employers with the goal of establishing relationships as business partners. Job Development training of sub-grantees will remain multi-focused. One area of focus will continue to promote the identification and targeting of local employers by using the internet, especially in rural areas. Another focus will be on the basics of how to conduct employer outreach. The training to be provided includes group activities, role plays, and videos about job development. Another area of focus will be to provide technical assistance geared towards developing advanced networking skills of both sub-grantees and SCSEP participants.
Furthermore, as we increase employer engagement, SCSEP will also increase exploration of on-the-job-experience (OJE) as a method of expanding employer engagement. While OJE has not been widely utilized by our sub-grantees in the past, the Program Officers will actively promote OJE as a tool for sub-grantees to use in future program years to gain more unsubsidized jobs for participant job seekers.
Preparing Participants for Unsubsidized Employment
SCSEP Program Officers will further expand sub-grantees capabilities to use a multi-pronged approach to prepare participants for unsubsidized jobs. Program Officers develop turnkey tools that a sub-grantee can use when meeting with participants. For example, a presentation has been developed on how to navigate a job fair that a sub-grantee can deliver at a participant meeting. Additionally, Program Officers provide sample agendas and activities, as well as facilitate job club meetings at sub-grantee locations. Program Officers are often asked to present at participant meetings. Topics may vary and can include interviewing techniques, résumé writing tips, approaching the hidden job market, using social media in a job search and completing online job applications.
Employer Outreach Staffing
All SCSEP Grantees in Alabama use local project directors to network with employers, business organizations, and community groups.
Seeing Employers as Customers
To bridge the divide between the business and education/social service spheres, Grantees emphasize their commitment to assisting employers to find and hire workers with the needed skills and qualities. They ask employers to describe the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and qualities they are looking for in new hires. Grantees may also consult with employers about how SCSEP can bypass job application hurdles. Understanding the hiring process helps build relationships over time with private sector employers in local targeted industries. Grantees also promote the qualities possessed by many older job seekers that employers seek:
- Commitment to doing quality work;
- Strong customer service orientation;
- Getting along with other employees;
- Able to pass a drug test; and
- Willingness to learn.
Once employers’ needs are defined, staff evaluate whether any area participants have the needed skills and are job-ready. If so, they are able to promote the skills and competence of participants as trained workers who will add value to the company.
Strategies for Engaging Employers
Alabama SCSEP Grantees will carry out the following actions:
Pursue partnerships with employers that:
- Are host agencies that may have job openings for individuals with the same or similar skill requirements;
- Have successfully employed participants;
- Are interested in hiring older workers, based on the local knowledge of Boards, business organizations, and others in the community; or
- Are identified in online labor market information as major employers in local targeted industries.
- Attend Chamber of Commerce and board meetings and other economic development organizations when possible to:
- Expand their employer networks;
- Find out which employers are hiring; and
- Contact employers to find out the skills and qualities needed to be successful in these jobs.