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DATE November 17, 2000
SUBJECT Reauthorizatin of the Older Americans Act

1. PURPOSE: To announce the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA), to provide materials related to the new law, and to request assistance in staffing work groups to implement the OAA Amendments.

3. BACKGROUND: Authorizing legislation for the OAA expired at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 1995. Appropriations Acts for FY 1996 through FY 2000 have continued OAA programs in the interim. Through bipartisan efforts the Congress and Senate passed the OAA Amendments of 2000 in late October. The President signed the bill into law on November 13, 2000. Attached are copies of the Statement By The President on signing the bill into law, and the amended Title V of the OAA, the Older American Community Service Employment Act.

4. POLICY: The amended OAA has significant changes for Title V, which authorizes the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). These will have an effective date of July 1, 2002. The amended Title V retains the structure of the program under which the national nonprofit agencies and organizations as well as States receive grants to operate SCSEP projects. It retains the current funding allocation that distributes 78 percent of funds to national nonprofit agencies and organizations and 22 percent to State grantees. As funding increases above the current FY 2000 level, proportionately more funding will be directed to State grantees.

A performance accountability system will need to be established that holds each grantee accountable for attaining quality levels of performance with respect to core performance measures. Examples of the measures include the placement and retention of participants in unsubsidized employment, customer satisfaction, number of persons served and community services provided. New regulations will need to establish a system for imposition of sanctions when grantees fail to attain appropriate levels of performance.

The Amendments also strengthen the linkage of SCSEP with the broader Workforce Investment Act (WIA) system, to assure older individuals easier access to appropriate services under both programs while minimizing any duplication of services.

A third significant change will improve States' abilities to coordinate services for participants by enhancing the planning process relating to SCSEP programs. It requires the broad participation of stakeholders in the development of a plan in each State to ensure the equitable distribution of projects within the State.

The Amendments also incorporate fiscal accountability provisions similar to those contained in WIA, including the definitions of administrative and programmatic costs, codification of responsibility review provisions, and the application of uniform cost principles and administrative requirements.

5. PRINCIPLE TASKS: The reauthorization includes substantial changes to Title V. The Division of Older Worker Programs (DOWP) has begun working to implement these changes. The principle tasks that will be involved in the implementation process include:

  • Identifying and resolving policy and operational issues and drafting Federal regulations;
  • Developing the legislatively mandated performance measures;
  • Developing grant procedures to address the legislatively mandated responsibility review, the imposition of sanctions for failure to meet performance standards, and the new three-year grants; Providing technical assistance and training for grantees and local project operators;
  • Consulting with grantees and other interested parties on all of the above;
  • Making presentations at national workforce development and SCSEP conferences; and
  • Establishing a "chat room" or other similar mechanisms for electronic communication.

6. ESTABLISHMENT OF WORK GROUPS: DOWP will be establishing groups to work on each of these tasks. The plan is to include staff from SCSEP grantees, as well as staff from the Employment and Training Administration national and regional offices, on these workgroups. Workgroup members will need to be able to travel to Washington, D.C. on a regular basis to participate in meetings; however, they will be able to do much of the actual work from their regular duty stations. We also hope to have a limited number of people working on a full-time basis with DOWP as part of the implementation process.

7. ACTIONS REQUIRED: SCSEP grantees should identify staff who would be available to work on one or more of the Title V reauthorization workgroups and who they would recommend as representatives of their organizations. Grantees should provide the names of these individuals to their Federal Representatives by December 1.

8. INQUIRIES: Questions should be directed to your Federal Representative at (202) 219-5904.


Statement By The President
Older American Community Service Employment Act

Division of Older Worker Programs

Acting Director
Office of National Programs
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