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AARP Scsep


treated with no dignity, respect, value

Complaint Rating:  95 % with 56 votes
95% 56
Contact information:
Seattle, Washington
United States
AARP Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and administered through the AARP Foundation. It is designed to provide job training and job search assistance to individuals age 55 and older with limited income.

Great idea, [appears] to be a wonderful resource, and I do not know how it works in other cities, but if you live in Seattle, and are thinking about applying for this program...do a lot of practical, face to face, research and informational interviewing before making application!

Myself, and others, have experienced what seems to be more than a reasonable amount of dysfunction in how the program is being "administered." I have not felt like I was being treated with dignity, respect, or valued from the first day.

On the first day of application I was sent on a wild goose chase (i.e. an unnecessary trip that wastes time, energy, resources, etc. without realizing any gain). Later in the week I was sent on two more wild goose chases.

Later still, I experienced confusion and ambiguity from the staff when I sought to clarify their WorkSearch Jump Start program. An email to the Project Director raising concerns about the wild goose chases and the confusion was met with a "circle the wagons" mentality.

After a period of time I was notified that I had an interview with what was to become employment ($8.55 per hour for 18 hours a week) at with my "Host Agency." This is the initial step that must be taken as a means to actually "gain" access to benefits the program offers. As instructed by AARP staff, I showed up for the interview eager and ready to work...only to discover from my Host Agency that the interview was actually suppose to be two days away...not the day I was instructed to show up. Another wild goose chase, and somewhat humiliating.

Later, I discovered that other AARP SCSEP Participants are experiencing similar dysfunction's, especially with interviews. I've been told stories similar to mind, plus other stories of two SCSEP Participants being scheduled at the same time for the same interview and more.

The SCSEP Participant Handbook--which was provided nearly 3 weeks after applying, and then only because I showed up in person to debate a procedure that I was being different sets of verbal instructions to follow--talks about the importance of open communication so that one might be fully assisted. Yeah, right...good luck with that in Seattle. In my experience, this staff is one of the worst "communicators" ever, and I question that they are following the procedures that they are suppose to be following.

Due to my own personal drive and initiative, the assignment that I am performing (as my Host Agency Executive Director verified in a performance review that I requested) is that of what could be called a Commercial Handyman. This is fine with me because there has been no agreement between myself and AARP about any job title, and I get exposure to a multitude of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) that would increase my marketability in this very tight job market (i.e. Custodial, Building Maintenance, Administrative Assistant, Grounds, Warehouse, Minor Information Technology, Other).

Then I noticed on my time sheets that the job title of "Stock Clerk" started showing up. After a review with my Host Agency Executive Director about my performance and the actual job tasks that I am performing, I submitted a job description of a Commercial Handyman, resume, and explanation about my Host Agency review with a request that the job title be changed to Commercial Handyman in order the reflect [and therefore get recognition for] the tasks I am actually performing (which again make me more marketable).

Instead of changing this job title to match my career goals, the Project Director forwarded my email to another employee (that I don't think I have met yet) who informed me that he checked with a Payroll Administrator who apparently--and without any knowledge of what I am actually doing or bothered to contact me about the matter--chose the job title "Stock Clerk" because the Department of Labor doesn't list Commercial Handyman.

The problem with that is this time sheet (which may be a federal document) has legal "effect." In order to receive pay for the hours I have worked, my Host Agency Supervisor and I MUST sign this document which is stating that I am a Stock Clerk...when the KSA's that I am actually performing make me far more marketable in the job market as a Commercial Handyman!

Now that I have raised my objections (openly communicated) about the job title of Stock Clerk being completely unacceptable, that I feel like I'm not being treated with dignity, respect, or valued, and have requested the job title be changed to either Commercial Handyman (or Administrative Assistant, Undefined, or left blank until a job title can be agreed upon) I am getting stonewalled and essentially "forced" to sign this document if I want to get paid. I noted on the last time sheet that I was signing the time sheet in protest... Communications from AARP SCSEP Seattle are, at the moment, non-existent.

So I am in the process of contacting whoever I can to take an independent look into this matter. Interesting thing is...is that I have no intentions of being litigious, nor am I seeking to get anyone fired! But I am certainly wanting AARP to hold their staff people accountable for their dysfunctional behavior, I want my job title to be changed to reflect the things that I am actually doing, I want to be treated with dignity, respect, and to be valued, and finally I want assistance with becoming more markable in the job market! After all, I am not collecting unemployment! I am 58 years old, and I must say this is the worst "assistance" I have ever received from anyone, or any agency!

Do any of you want to risk going through this type of experience?
Complaint comments Comments (21) Complaint country United States Complaint category Non-profit Organizations


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A  12th of Feb, 2010 by    0 Votes
I called this office about 1 1/2 years ago, and waited and waited to hear back from them. No call. I phoned again, and again they said your on the list someone will call you. Still no call, so I gave up. (I initially called because there was a flyer at my apt. bldg. regarding AARP helping you get employment, and getting paid while you volunteer (SCSEP Program) and attempt to seek permanent employment.

Now, I'm doing some volunteer work and some of my co-workers are in the SCSEP Program. I called AARP, now I'm waiting for someone again to return my call, he's out for a week, then will be busy when he gets back, so I'm suppose to hear back in approx. two weeks. We'll see if it happens this time. In the meantime I'm going to go through the City of Seattle Mayor's Office Program, IF THEY HAVE ANY FUNDS LEFT for 2010 for the SCSCEP Program.
A  29th of Jun, 2010 by    0 Votes
I am not certain as to why these inconsistencies exist, however, it is truly an insult to those of us seniors. I was recently released from my position hosted by the local historical museum. Assuming that I would call AARP and they would be sensitive to my situation, it was quite the opposite. I asked to be placed as soon as possible in that my husband and I suffered serious financial setbacks and I need to work. Instead I was told by the representative that she did not have time for me now and that I would need to wait two weeks to be contacted. All of the material that you read on the internet about the SCSEP program in coordination with AARP contradicts this type of treatment. I am totally shocked and doing my best to find someone whose compassion would lend itself to that which is promoted. So far, I have not been able to find any contact information for those who may have the means to correct these unconscionable injuries to our honorable intentions.
A  8th of Aug, 2010 by    0 Votes
I am a 62 year old woman who was placed in a position as a custodian; never did that type of work before.
Work was demanding and physical, I advised AARP.
There were harsh chemicals in custodian closet.
Last day I worked at placement agency, I ended up in ER due to chemical inhalation.
Have called and called local office after submitting paperwork from ER, haven't heard from them since.
Many of these people at AARP were hired from the SCSEP program themselves; wonder if they ever had the placement skills beforehand.
Poor communication, non compassionate.
N  9th of Feb, 2011 by    0 Votes
I live in Phoenix Arizona, and have face the same promblems stated here, I am over 55 I was let go of my job saw advertisment regarding SCSEP thru news letter that was e-mail to me thru AARP, went down to the office, which was way out of the way spent all day there with how to interview, how to search for jobs etc. they stated I had to go and do intake at that time I was told I qualified. Since losing my job I am now homeless and still no job. I ask also for help to go back to school, again nothing. I keep calling they say there is a freeze on nothing they can do, I said you stated there was a waiting list, again they stated no there is not we just cant help you. Now when I call they just put me on hold and dont come back to the phone so I just hang up. If this program does agsest which I beginning to think it does not why dosent someone help us. I have been looking for a job for one year, and I do beleive it is because my age, what am I or anyone else suppose to do.
N  1st of Mar, 2011 by    0 Votes
Please Beware - the SCSEP Program would and could be helpful - if the people overseeing it, mainly the Project Manager, had more interests in making her program the BEST IT COULD BE, instead of a Master's Research Thesis for her own accalations. I have foud her HAND PICKED STAFF to be UNPROFESSIONAL on EVERY LEVEL. I have been talked down to, patronized, be littled, and when I spoke with the Project Manager, her reply was; "not my people, I find that hard to believe." "I won't have you talk that way about my people, unless your willing to sit across a table from them and allow them to defend themselves from your accusations." [In other words: CIRCLE THE WAGONS]
How sad: this program is ment to help people out, and all the unprofessionals with the power are ABUSING, aging professionals, who have treat others with DIGNITY, and RESPECT!

I wish the REGULATORS COULD PULL T"HE PLUG on this Project Manger, and find a BETTER CANDIDATE.
A  1st of Apr, 2011 by    +1 Votes
Because we, the baby-boomer generation, now exist as the "unemployables" according to government statistics, should begin communicating a lot more loudly as a nation of "unemployables" who has had the bar moved once again on the social security benefits pay-age. Being kicked-around is not who we are. It appears there are quite a few of us who are unhappy, unemployed, homeless and without hope. Crying in our milk is not who we are. It is time the government hears from us. That "we're mad as hell! and we're not gonna take it anymore!
A  12th of Apr, 2011 by    0 Votes
This program is a joke. AARP does not help you gain employment. Instead you have to plug along like you always do and try to find work on your own. The very few interviews I have been able to get result in the same "over-qualified" status (translated to mean "too old"). What good does a program like this do for someone who has over 47 years of office experience and still remains unemployed? We are required to attend "mandatory" meetings and are penalized if we do not attend a useless meeting with very little hope for a job. It seems as if the younger workforce views us all as senile. Take a clue and realize that one day you will be "over-qualified" too.
N  23rd of Jul, 2011 by    0 Votes
The non-profit agencies I have worked for with SCSEP are terrible. They take advantage of us. I frequently hear comments from the rich volunteers, who usually only come in once a week; " I don't get paid anything". Well the host agency does not pay us one dime of our lowly minimum wage. I feel used and unappreciated. The word training is a joke. They work your butt off and look down their nose at us. Volunteers take away jobs from people.
A  24th of Sep, 2012 by    0 Votes
Good for you for speaking out, i am going through a similiar situation here in AZ, only i have sent my issue to several top people and they send me to someone else. They all stick together from Wash to the low person on the totem pole. There has been un truths said about me to make the Project Mgr. look good, nothing between her and i was help private, our emails were always sent to two or three others even those that i had contacted. I was on the program for a few months at an Agency that i was already a Volunteer and offered this Agency to AARP and so went on the program, i liked it there i was learning several different things. then a confusing mess happened and it has been a fight ever since to have bad remarks removed from my file with them and to listen to my side, and as the person above this message i just get the run-a-round and have ever since trying to get on SCSEP here in AZ, i was told there was a freeze and i wrote someone in Wash and there was no freeze, it took me almost 3 years to get on, they are so confused as they have taken me off the Program 3 different times and do not seem to be able to coincide with each other.

I hope that anyone that is thinking to get on the AARP program here in AZ to do your homework first.
N  31st of Jan, 2013 by    0 Votes
I agree. We are required to go to the YYC (Yes you Can) mtgs. at the worksource offiice here in Seattle. When we arrive we "sign in" with the office using our ssn.. This morning after arriving early and being seated in the main office to await being called into the meeting at least 3 or 4 of us were still waiting to be notified 10 minutes later. When we finally inquired we were told they were already in session. As we filed in and announced that we had been waiting and never called, the director screeched at us that we should have signed in I informed her I certainly had. She ignored me and continued with her "diatribe" with no apology or acknowledgement that perhaps she was the one in error. This is just a tiny example of the mistreatment participants endure!
N  14th of Feb, 2013 by    0 Votes
I am a telecommunications retiree, but didn't want to sit around the house and rot away. So I called my local AARP office and enrolled in the SCSEP. Boy what a mistake! After being moved to three different host agency sites in six month, I was sent on an interview that didn't fit my goals. After I didn't accept the job at $9.00.hr., I was called into the AARP office and told that I had violated my agency agreement and would be terminated from the program.

Perhaps someone in Washington D.C. should re-evaluate funding this program. These folks in the local offices are a joke.
N  7th of Nov, 2013 by    0 Votes
I must say that i can relate to your experience as well. I am writing from Houston, Texas AARP. and my experience with the Host Agencies, and AARP services are terrible. Senior's are used fro the government agencies to collect Volunteer hours. The extensive training is a joke. They send to Host Agencies that degrade you and put you in a corner and you, do absolutely nothing. Someone needs to investigate the way these places are ran, and how seniors are being treated; because if there were no seniors, there wouldn't be a need for AARP Foundation SCSEP Program.
N  29th of Mar, 2014 by    0 Votes
I was a client of the Seattle SCSEP/AARP program in 2008. It was not as professionally run as I would have hoped but I discovered that most of the placement staff were seniors themselves. Admittedly, they were kind of slow on the uptake.

I lived in Federal Way at the time and my greatest hardship was getting to Seattle on occasion for face2face meetings. I was placed at a senior center in my community and was there until I accepted a permanent placement after about 4-5 months. I think there were 4 SCSEP placements there - 2 in the office and 2 in the kitchen. (One lady was 80 y/o at the time, and she became permanently employed at the center). I usually got breakfast and/or lunch, which was certainly helpful since my income was extremely limited at the time.

All in all, my experience was positive. However, I have a no BS personality and tend to "demand" professionalism and respect. I will say this: This forum is fine for publicizing to prospective applicants, but not the forum for getting change. That would be letters to AARP, your congressperson, the legislative committee(s) charged with oversight of the SCSEP funding. If you feel like the system is broken, do something about fixing it.

I plan to reapply to the program later in the year and I am looking forward to another successful experience.
A  29th of Apr, 2014 by    0 Votes
I totally concur with the others with regard to the local AARP Foundation's dysfunctional administration of the SCSEP program. There is a lot of "poverty shaming" in their attitude about unemployed persons, and the clear message is that we have to be sharply and continually prodded to get off our dead ### to get out there and find work.

Their approach to the job hunt — especially in my field, IT — is 'way, 'way out-of-date, their philosophy with regard to the role of host-agency placements is at cross-purposes with itself, and they are very rigid in their general approach and administration of their services.

I won't go into detail here with what really got my tail in a knot, as it might identify me. I want to make a grievance, but I do not trust the local administrators to not be vindictive.

The rollup: If you're an out-of-work senior and can suffer the guff, this can be a useful program. However, DO treat the staff as bureaucrats... that means, stick to the letter of their program, and never volunteer information that your "employment specialist" does not ask for.
N  29th of Apr, 2014 by    0 Votes
I represent a host agency that is working with the local Seattle office for placements at our agency. I have been very disappointed by their arbitrary movement of participants of late. What should have been a very lucrative arrangement between our programs, good for the AARP participants, the host agency and good for the local office, has turned in to a major disappointment. I had intentionally created meaningful positions for our AARP participants in hopes that it would sharpen skills, make it meaningful and hopefully in some way help participants find work in the field that they were looking in. Unfortunately creating meaningful work means that an agency has to go out on a limb and "give" work that is critical to the agency to a participant that could be moved at any given moment. The amount of training that the agency invests needs to be met with some type of return on work performed. And, with little to no notice as to when a participant is moved, it creates a void that then has to some how be met. Going forward I will be forced to keep most of our AARP participants in less meaningful work. The most unfortunate part of this arrangement is that doing so, in my opinion, belittles the unique gifts that each participant brings to their host agency. I wish all of you luck going forward, and hopefully we can all find a way to share our stories in places that can inspire the change we all clearly want to see! A local office that really understands the complexities of this job market, that respects our growing population of baby boomers and all of the gifts that they bring, that can better support their participants with placements and other services (I have noticed that there are many AARP folks that need additional supports such as clothing, food, housing, ect...) and that host agencies are able to utilize their particpants in meaningful ways that show respect for the talents that participants bring. Let's keep this moving forward!
A  28th of May, 2014 by    0 Votes
for called a former friend who happens to to be associate diector AARP for old times sake. She said she would be in nearby town on AARP business and meet me for dinner. She was unusally quiet. As we went to our cars to leave she opened her truck and handed a very thick binder of of contact information to congressmen with theIr contact information and how to contact them professionally and what to say. the next day i was contacted by AARP by email and greeted like I had signed on to do what amounted to a 40 hours of work without pay. I was shocked about the meeting, the assumption had signed on to do all this work and the emails. I didn't respond because I was sexually assaulted. I called AARP and spoke to my "friend" and told her crying my life was a tragedy and I couldn't do the work. No questions asked, and no sympathy. She hung up. I haven't heard from her since. I'm glad I've read this blog because I was planning to use their services to re-enter the workforce. I
A  11th of Mar, 2015 by    +1 Votes
snail mail is better! I was told in here in Reno that I, a disabled senior, had my status
changed to a family of ONE! Yes, although it is a family of TWO by the FEDERAL and
STATE governments. Ms Roberts, find her on FINKEDIn, has taken to making her OWN
rules and guidelines. Must be NICE, since their wages, benefits, etc, are paid by OUR
TAXES with a grant from the DOL. I am terrified, afraid I am going to lose my home, for
delinquent property taxes. TO ALL OF YOU, DO NOT BOTHER WITH ARRP, Mister
Cook just emailed me and said I could "reapply", perhaps. Even though I KNOW by
the DOL's webite about the SCSEP program I am MORE than qualified. PLEASE,
START RAISING THE ROOF, CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN!!! Ooo, 44 jobs since July! (This was the end of September 2015). Wow, averages 12 jobs a month? Must be a very busy office, huh?
N  4th of Jun, 2015 by    +1 Votes
JUNE 3RD, 2015. i was home, late afternoon, when i received a phone call from someone at the aarp office. she told me the director, eva garcia, wanted to meet with me about reassigning me. i said fine, but i couldn't go into austin, she would have to come to me. i said i'd be at the host agency the next day. the woman said, "Oh no. today was your last day. you're not to go back." needless to say, i was incensed. i had been waiting and expecting( for 6 months) to be reassigned; but, to be called after already putting in 2 days this week, with no fair warning, and no reassignment ready to begin, i felt totally discounted and offended. the last time i had spoken to eva about this ( in january), when i asked her how long i would be at my current host agency, she did say, "until i tell you you're not." she sure told me.
i tried several times that same afternoon and the next morning to reach her, but was told she was unavailable. i was even instructed to call her "when she is available. Have a blessed day." before i was hung up on.
i believe that eva is not providing the services that the SCSEP program is supposed to provide its participants. any requests for assistance, allowed by Title V, were never reponded to. And the wages paid, i believe were less than allowed.
i do believe that someone should take a long look at how this austin office is being run, or better yet, come and speak to the participants. i may be alone in my dissatisfaction and disappointment, but what if i'm not?
D  29th of Sep, 2015 by    -1 Votes
First of all I am sorry so many of you are having trouble! I'm in the SCSEP program through a community college in Washington which is falls under DSHS. It took almost 5 months for a position to open up. When it did the first thing I did was decide where I wanted to work. Then I verified that the place I wanted was looking for help. I chose to work on the college campus which is part of State Government and very rules and regulations, not to mention Union, oriented. I coordinated a meeting with the SCSEP Director and the manager of the Department I wanted to work at. If you find a position where the prevailing wage is higher, they will pay you more. I chose to work in INFOTECH. While I am not as skilled as my younger counterparts, I am learning a lot! They make concessions for my limitations, I am 63 and disabled, so it's working out well. I don't impact their budget and they get extra help. It's a win win situation. Re-think where you want to work, and propose it as employment that is funded by someone else instead of a volunteer situation. Most employers have had some bad experiences with volunteers at one time or another. You should be allowed to do just about anything that is considered a job on the SCSEP program. Get creative and explore an idea you've never thought you'd be able to do. This could be your golden opportunity! Check out college campuses and government employment opportunities. Don't limit yourself. I have never been happier with any job I've ever had! Here is a list of the people who oversee the SCSEP program in Washington. http://www.wtb.wa.gov/SeniorCommunityEmployment_Dir..asp
A  19th of Oct, 2015 by    +1 Votes
I agree with all of these comments. I was working on staff at the Houston AARP site located at 16770 Imperial Valley Dr, in Houston Texas. The project director there got angry because I was a whistle blower on her office indiscretions to her boss and came in on her off day and told me to get my things and leave the office. This was done in front of a site participant who had come into my office to pick up some paperwork. Everyone is right, this SCSEP organization is a joke, you're definitely not treated with dignity and they definitely don't care about helping you find a job, they are just there milking government funds.

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