Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District RECEIVES $787,432 GRANT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2018                    NEWS/PSA

Jan Hale
SCSEP Program Manager and Department Head
(228) 868-2311

Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District

Senior Service America, Inc. awards grant directed to assist in workforce training for older workers 55+

Gulfport, MS, September 28, 2018 – The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD) announced today that it was awarded a grant of $787,432 from Senior Service America, Inc (SSAI). Almost 90 percent of this grant -originally from the U.S. Department of Labor-will provide temporary employment to at least 149 low-income older adults living in Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Stone and Wayne Counties. These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) a cornerstone program of the Older Americans Act.

SCSEP, the only federal job training program targeted exclusively to low income seniors, promotes personal dignity and self-sufficiency through work. Its temporary part-time community service jobs provide a hand-up, not a hand-out for older, unemployed low-income Americans. SCSEP allows eligible persons to participate for up to four years, but the average tenure nationally is 18 months with the experience and training they receive leading them to permanent employment.

“This program delivers a triple win for older adults and the whole community,” said Leonard Bentz, Executive Director of SMPDD. As the second largest U.S. Department of Labor National Grantee of SCSEP, Senior Service America works through a network of local partners delivering various career training programs for 50-plus-year-old workers in 34 states. “Our long-term, local partners are a key to the strength of SSAI and provide the systems to train older Americans into strategic advantage for employers and the country.” said Gary A. Officer, Senior Service America President and CEO. “We are very pleased to continue our support of the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District for the 44th consecutive year.”

Lorie Qualls, Director of Mississippi State Health Department said, “For over 10 years, the Mississippi Department of Health, has been very pleased to be a part of the SCSEP Program. The seniors we have been assigned have always been very hard working, professional and dependable. It has been an honor to be a SCSEP Host Agency and to work with Ms. Jan Hale and her great team.”


Photo Cutline LORIE QUALLS, LINDA MARBLE, AND CYNTHIA GAINES: Pictured Left to Right: Mississippi State Health Department, Director, Lorie Qualls, SCSEP Participants Linda Marble and Cynthia Gaines

Photo Cutline SENIOR SUPERHERO: Senior Super Hero Poster

About Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District
Since its beginning in 1967, Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District has been assisting 15 county and 38 municipal governments meet the needs, discover opportunities and anticipate the trends challenging the economic vitality, environmental integrity, and overall quality of life enjoyed in South Mississippi. The Senior Community Service Employment Program is just one of the many programs administered by SMPDD that helps local leaders develop this region’s human, economic, political and natural resources. For more information, please visit or call (228) 868-2311.
About Senior Service America, Inc.
Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI) is committed to making it possible for low-income and other disadvantaged older adults to participate fully in determining their own future and the future of their communities. SSAI provides employment opportunities to low-income and other older adults in 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For 50 years, SSAI has operated the Senior Community Service Employment Program and currently partners with a diverse network of local organizations in 13 states. To date, Senior Service America has placed over 12,000 older workers into permanent employment through the SCSEP program. For more information, please visit

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