The Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington was awarded a grant of $714,063 from Senior Service America, Inc. to continue its work in providing temporary employment to low-income older adults living in Montgomery and Frederick counties. The money, originally from the U.S. Department of Labor, was awarded to JCA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

“JCA has been operating the Senior Community Service Program for more than four decades, and it’s a privilege to do so,” said JCA CEO David Gamse. “It enables local seniors to get real-world, on-the-job training while enabling local charities and government agencies to get free help from workers with unbeatable life experience. Just as important: the program gives older adults a healthy dose of self-confidence while shattering everyone’s negative stereotypes about aging,” Gamse said.

Clarence Simmons, a recent SCSEP graduate, said the program “was a big help, certainly,” At SCSEP, “people understand your story, and what you are talking about,” he said. Through this program, Simmons learned the values of networking and never allowing yourself to become isolated.

It’s funny, “older people need mentors too. You still need to be brought along.” said Simmons, who went from being unemployed to lead concierge at a condominium complex in just a few months.

Wanda, who currently works at Nonprofit Village in Rockville thanks to SCSEP, “has been a huge help to us, enhancing our capacity and allowing us to serve our members better. Wanda is learning new skills, meeting new people and helping us make a difference in the community, said Tom Colling, Nonprofit Village program manager.

Explained Donna Satterthwaite, Senior Service America Director of Employment Services, “Many low-income older adults want and need paid work. By serving their community, older workers receive renewed skills as well as renewed hope, knowing that they are not forgotten. Older Marylanders are fortunate to be given the opportunity through SCSEP and the dedicated staff of the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington.”