Co-Lin receives $503,300 grant to assist in workforce training for older workers 55+

Copiah-Lincoln Community College recently announced that it was awarded a $503,300 grant from the Center for Workforce Inclusion, Inc. (the Center). Almost 90 percent of this grant – originally from the U.S. Department of Labor – will provide temporary employment to no less than 92 low-income older Mississippians living in Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Simpson, Smith, Walthall, and Wilkinson Counties. These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) a cornerstone program of the Older Americans Act. SCSEP is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year.

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. The Senior Community Service Employment Program allows eligible persons to participate for up to four years, but the average tenure nationally is 19 months with the experience and training they receive leading them to permanent employment.

As one of the largest U.S. Department of Labor National Grantees of SCSEP, the Center works through a network of local partners delivering various career training programs for eligible 55-plus-year-old workers in 33 states. To date, the Center has placed over 90,000 older workers into permanent employment through the SCSEP program. “Our long-term, local partners are a key to the strength of the Center and provide the systems to train older Americans into strategic advantage for employers and the Country.” said Gary A. Officer, Center for Workforce Inclusion President and CEO. “We are very pleased to continue our support of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College for the 48th consecutive year. 

“SCSEP has been a god send during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jane Hulon Sims, President of Copiah Lincoln Community College. SCSEP participants have been able to continue to be paid emergency pandemic sick leave while they stay at home and in many cases continue to receive training. Continuing to receive funds has prevented participants from becoming homeless.  And now, the participants are slowly starting to be able to safely return to their training sites where they help local community, faith-based, and public agencies carry out their mission, such as Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Copiah County Board of Supervisors, Brookhaven WIN Job Center, St. Andrews Missions, and the Copiah-Jefferson Regional Library Systems, to name a few.

Bonnie Gustavis, Executive Director of Copiah County Human Resource Agency, states, “SCSEP is providing hope and the dignity of work to low income people ages 55+ who are not job ready and have the toughest employment challenges. The grant from the Center is vital to our being able to deliver this program in our community.”

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About Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Copiah-Lincoln Community College is two-year college accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. Co-Lin awards an Associate in Arts and Associates in Applied Science degrees. What began as an agricultural high school in 1915, has grown into a community college with three campuses with an annual enrollment of approximately 3,000 students. Located in Southwest Mississippi, Co-Lin’s main campus is in Wesson, with two commuter campuses in Natchez (established in 1972) and the Simpson County Center located in Mendenhall (established in 2005). For more information about Co-Lin visit


About the Center for Workforce Inclusion

The Center for Workforce Inclusion is the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to employment for older workers in both the public and private sectors. Since 1962, the Center has provided workforce development and support services to nearly half-a-million older workers. Our mission is to deliver workforce readiness programs that empower local job seekers, attract employers, and transform communities. The Center provides employment opportunities low-income and other older adults age 50 and older in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  For 55 years, the Center has operated the Senior Community Service Employment Program and currently partners with a diverse network of local organizations in 14 states. For more information, please visit