Title

Policies to improve workforce services for older Americans

Publication Date

11-30-2020

Abstract

Older Americans increasingly need or want to work beyond the traditional age of retirement and doing so often requires changing jobs late in life. Because of age discrimination and skills obsolescence, among other factors, however, older adults may face special challenges to finding new work. We propose seven relatively low-cost reforms that will improve the workforce services provided to older adults and can be implemented quickly: (1) having specialized staff at job centers who understand older workers’ needs and can serve them more effectively, (2) experimenting with job placement programs specifically for older workers, (3) promoting self-employment among older adults, and (4) providing targeted skills development for older workers. Additionally, we recommend (5) adopting separate program performance standards for older adults to eliminate disincentives for the provision of services to this population, and (6) restoring funding to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a program that serves disadvantaged older adults. Given the limitations of avail-able evidence on the best approach to serving older workers, we also propose (7) evaluating the new programs and initiatives we are recommending to ensure they are having the intended effect.

Publisher

The Brookings Institution

Issue Date

November 2020

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

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Citation

Abraham, Katharine G. and Susan N. Houseman. 2020. "Policies to improve workforce services for older Americans." The Brookings Institution.