For millions of Americans, aging well means being able to work up to and beyond traditional retirement age.
Over the past year, older adults have felt the devastating impact of COVID-19 on their employment status. As of March, over 1.7 million older workers remain unemployed.
If we are not intentional in targeting our policy solutions, the economic impact of these job losses will position too many older adults to age into poverty.
Expanded training and equitable job access are critical as America ages
Media Relations Manager
Arlington, VA (April 29, 2021) — As the nation continues to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is calling on Congress to invest in maximizing the workforce participation of Americans aged 55 and over.
In testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging today, NCOA President and CEO Ramsey Alwin called on Congress to strengthen federal age discrimination protections and enforcement, expand job placement and training services specifically for older adults, and ensure equitable access to quality job opportunities for people of all ages.
“Over the past year, older adults have felt the devastating impact of COVID-19 on their employment status,” Alwin said.
“As of March, over 1.7 million older workers remain unemployed. The drop in employment among older workers of color was twice that of whites. If we are not intentional in targeting our policy solutions, the economic impact of these job losses will position too many older adults to age into poverty.”
According to the latest U.S. Census data, the percentage of Americans aged 65 and over has increased 35% and will continue to rise as baby boomer enter their 60s and beyond. As longevity climbs and Americans struggle to save for retirement, work is essential to affording a longer life. This is especially true for older women and people of color.
Specifically, NCOA is urging Congress to:
- Pass legislation to restore and strengthen age discrimination protections.
- Increase annual funding and provide significant recovery investments in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Senior Community Service Employment Program—the only federal program dedicated to training and placing disadvantaged older adults into jobs.
- Explicitly include and prioritize older workers in expanded and new workforce development efforts.
- Promote work and financial security with caregiver support, family and medical leave, income support, and benefits access.
“Increased federal leadership also is needed,” Alwin said. “An Older Workers Bureau housed at the Labor Department could lead a focused effort across federal agencies to maximize older adults’ workforce participation, which would be good for older adults, employers, and society.”
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or zip code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Follow us at @NCOAging.