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OLDER WORKER BULLETIN NO. 96-1

TO: ALL SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SPONSORS

SUBJECT: Minimum Assessment Requirements

1. Purpose. To provide Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) sponsors with the minimum requirements for enrollee/applicant assessments.

2. References. TheSCSEP regulations at 20 CFR 641.309(g) and the Older Americans Act at 502(b)(1)N.

3. Background. The regulation which was published on 5/17/95 for the SCSEP indicated that the Department of Labor would issue minimum requirements for enrollee assessments, 641.309 (g); eligibility documentation, 641.302 (c); and Individual Development Plan (IDP) terminations, 641.315. In July, a work group consisting of State and national SCSEP sponsors prepared draft standards for these regulatory related matters. A number of sponsors provided comments which we are incorporating into our final issuances.

This bulletin is the first of a series of issuances which are intended to clarify the SCSEP regulations. Future issuances will provide guidance on eligibility documentation, IDP terminations, and physical exams.

4. Directive. SCSEP sponsors must adhere to the minimum assessment requirements found in Section 5 of this bulletin "Minimum Assessment Requirements." They should consider the attachment as guidance on what an assessment should contain. Sponsors may institute more stringent requirements but this bulletin must serve as the framework for developing enrollee/applicant assessments.

5. Minimum Assessment Requirements. SCSEP sponsors must adhere to the following minimum assessment requirements.

* The assessment/reassessment shall be made in partnership with each enrollee.

* The applicant's/enrollee's skills, talents, training, work history and capabilities must be considered.

* Appropriate training and employment objectives should be identified.

* Needed support services should be identified.

* The assessment and/or reassessment must be the basis for the Individual Development Plan (IDP).

* The assessment must be the basis for the community service assignment.

* The assessment should be signed by the applicant/enrollee and the project staff member who helped develop it.

It is expected that the assessments will be conducted by the grantee or subgrantee rather than the host agency. Assessments which are done entirely by host agencies should be avoided.

6. Inquires. Questions may be directed to your Federal Representative at (202) 219-5904.

JAMES H. NORRIS, Chief
Division of Older Worker Programs

PAUL A. MAYRAND, Director
Office of Special Targeted Programs

Attachment

SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM

20 CFR PART 641.309 ASSESSMENT AND REASSESSMENT OF ENROLLEES

PREAMBLE. In developing assessments for Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) enrollees, the following character-istics should be built into the process;

o Trust. The relationship that evolves from working with an enrollee or applicant should be based on trust. While it is impossible to require that a trusting relationship be developed, there are basic principles such as honesty, integrity, rapport, respect, and commitment that should be adhered to by all parties involved in the assessment process.

o Priority. The regulatory requirement that the most needy persons with the poorest employment prospects are given priority for enrollment in the SCSEP must be addressed in the assessment process. This means that the assessment process is designed to fully consider all applicants who apply to the individual SCSEP projects.

o Flexibility. The process must be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the individual. Each individual and his/her specific needs will vary; the grantee assessment process must take this into consideration.

o Realistic. The assessment process must be reality based to facilitate the individual's successful performance consistent with the jointly developed plan.

o Diversity. The assessment process should recognize the need for staff to be culturally sensitive and aware of the impacts of different cultural experiences.

o Continuing Assessment Process. An essential part of the assessment process is that it be designed to encourage positive interaction between the enrollee and the SCSEP staff as well as the host agency supervisor.

The most successful projects have a continuing interaction with the enrollee during the year rather than only the minimum requirement of an assessment once every twelve months.

o Potential for Growth within Community Service Assignment. The ability of some enrollees to perform in an unsubsidized job may be very limited. The assessment process must acknowledge that everyone may not be a good candidate for an unsubsidized position.

However, such persons should be given the opportunity to broaden their experiences as individuals at their community service assignment.

o Inability to Cope/Work. The assessment process must include provisions for addressing barriers. Enrollees who do not have basic skills to function at a host agency or in an unsubsidized setting need to be assisted on an individual basis. To address these needs, grantees should seek support services in the community.

o Imposing Values. Staff may provide guidance and direction to enrollees who are unfamiliar with local customs, or methods of conducting employment related activities. However, to the extent feasible, the assessment process should respect the values of the enrollees.

THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS

The assessment process can be put into context by examining it in stages. The outline which follows focuses on different stages in the assessment/IDP process.

Sponsors are also reminded that assessments prepared for other employment and training programs may be used if they have been prepared within a year prior to the individual applying to the SCSEP. (641.309(h))

STAGE I - ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION. The eligibility determination is part of the overall assessment process.

o Note: Minimum standards for complying with age, income and residency requirements are addressed under section 641.305 of the SCSEP regulation.

STAGE II - INFORMATION GATHERING.

o Most Suitable Community Service Assignment (CSA). An interview shall be conducted with each enrollee to determine the most suitable community service assignment. The community service assignment should accommodate the needs of the applicant/enrollee. The needs of the host agency or project are to be considered secondary to those of the applicant /enrollee.

o Appropriate Employment & Training Objectives. An interview shall be conducted with each enrollee to identify the appropriate employment and training objectives.

o Prepare Assessment in Partnership with Enrollee. The assessment shall be made in partnership with the new enrollee.

o Consider the enrollee's:

- preferences

- history, including all aspects such as work, practical life experiences (homemaking/parenting), military service, education, personal background, training.

- skills

- interests

- talents

- physical capabilities

- need for supportive services

- aptitudes

- potential for performing CSA

- potential for transition to unsubsidized employment

- training needs

- reason for applying to/and expectations of the program

- barriers

o Identify abilities. The assessment of each enrollee shall take into consideration his/her physical capabilities.

o Require consistency with RA/ADA. Assessments for physical ability shall be consistent with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

o Assignment. Grantees shall seek a community service assignment which will permit the most effective use of each enrollee's skills, interests and aptitudes.

STAGE III - Individual Development Plan (IDP) The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is based on the assessment and reassessment. Some points to consider in the IDP are the following;

o Expandable goals. The goals developed shall be expansive (but clearly defined) and include items such as:

- employment

- training needed

- community service assignment

- quality of life

- aspirations

o Mutual partnership. The IDP shall be:

- developed in partnership with the enrollee.

- contain the signatures of enrollee and appropriate staff

o Action Steps with Approximate Time Frames. The IDP shall include specific:

- action steps;

- approximate dates for undertaking and completing the action steps

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o Appropriate supportive services. The enrollee's supportive services identified in the assessment shall be reflected in the IDP. To the extent practicable, plans to provide the needed services should be described.

o Assessment/reassessment. The grantee shall use the assessment or reassessment as a basis for developing or amending an IDP.

STAGE IV - Reassessment/Recertification. The reassessment can be a continuous process but must be done at least once every twelve months. It may be prepared when the eligibility recertification is done and should include consideration of previous assessment findings.

o Update the IDP and Conduct a 12 Month Review

- evaluate progress

- explore needed supportive services

- determine potential for transition

- review employment and training objectives

- demonstrate mutual partnership, in development of time frames with specific actions

- link with joint enrollee/staff signatures.

o Consider alternative community service assignments

- assess potential for greater opportunity(ies)

- enhance potential for transition to unsubsidized employment

- consider best interest of enrollee

- determine training opportunities

JAMES H. NORRIS, Chief
Division of Older Worker Programs

PAUL A. MAYRAND, Director
Office of Special Targeted Programs

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