Our seeds were planted in response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”.  Carefully cultivated by the National Farmers Union, our national nonprofit organization sprouted in 1965 as Green Thumb.  This innovative pilot program focused on putting poor, displaced farmers back to work – utilizing their skills to answer Lady Bird Johnson’s call to beautify America.  In return, farmers earned a much-needed income, helping them support their families and stay out of the poor farm. Green Thumb, along with National Farmers Union helped lead a social change, creating the model for what’s known today as the Senior Community Service Employment Program or SCSEP. The SCSEP is Experience Works’ legacy and continues to help struggling older adults  overcome barriers to achieve an improved quality of life through training and employment –especially important for individuals who are most-in-need with no other options for help such as those with disabilities, and those living in remote or rural areas.

As the Green Thumb program flourished, it expanded to include women. All were heads of households; many with young children.


Training was a key element on the program. The record showed that seniors could master new skills and work effectively on a team. As technology advanced, efforts to help seniors get computer training were in full swing.

1970 – 1990’s

Green Thumb changed its name to Experience Works, to better reflect the organization’s broader scope.


Experience Works strengthened its outreach to older adults through a new partnership with Senior Corps and the National Corporation of Community Service to begin operating the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP) in several states.


Today, Experience Works remains true to its roots and steadfast in its commitment to help people age with dignity and purpose. As we continue to strengthen programs and services in our current service delivery areas, we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities to expand and diversify.