Thank you to everyone who participated in our January 14 program, Supporting Employment for People 50 and older.
- 65% of participants saw ageism as the top challenge in supporting employment for people 50 and older.
- Re-invention, skill-building, and transition each garnered 24% of votes as the top challenge or opportunity.
We are grateful to co-facilitators, Doug Dickson, Board Chair of Encore Boston Network, and Tim Lybarger, founder and program director of Encore NEO, and to our panelists: David Garvey, co-founder of Encore!Connecticut, Kate Schaefers, Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers (UMAC) program, and Janine Vanderburg, Director and Chief Catalyst of Changing the Narrative in Colorado, a campaign to change the way people think, talk, and act about aging and ageism.
Our speakers recounted a variety of ways they are supporting employment for people 50 and older in the face of ageism and other challenges. Dave shared that Encore!Connecticut has been successful “flipping around [the ageism message] to convey a message about the assets folks that are 50 and above bring with seasoned experience.”
According to Kate, “We know that people in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s increasingly want to work and need to work…. But they don’t want the same jobs anymore. They often want to work differently,” which is what the UMAC program helps them explore.
Tim noted that many people 50 and older, who are in transition or looking for work, often wrestle with their identity and the question “Who am I now that I’m not who I was?” At Encore NEO they use a personal version of the business model generation canvas to help people answer that question.
At Changing the Narrative Colorado, Janine and others have gone beyond reframing aging to reframing the older worker to potential employers. She added that they use a carrot and stick approach, “The carrot is talking to employers about why it’s a great deal to hire older workers. The stick is looking at our public policies…that govern age discrimination and don’t have penalties that are as strong as those that cover other kinds of discrimination.”
Beyond creating community and stimulating learning, our mission at Encore Network is to inspire action. We are pleased that 97% of the participants in this program said they were likely or very likely to apply something they learned.