ERIC Number: ED344644
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jul
Older Worker Retraining: An Important New Direction for Higher Education.
Caro, Francis G.; Morris, Robert
Colleges and universities throughout the United States are faced with the new mission of offering comprehensive educational programs designed to strengthen the employment skills of mature adults. In the coming decades, as the number of young people entering the labor force decreases by an expected one-third, the number of available workers aged 45-54 will increase from 10% to 16%. Rapid changes in technology have made such older workers vulnerable to job loss and prolonged unemployment. At the same time, labor shortages are predicted in high technology jobs and the service industries of insurance, banking, health and human services. Because 48% of the work force is employed in organizations with fewer than 500 employees which lack the resources to provide their own retraining programs, community colleges are the country's most important source of such retraining. As the pool of younger students shrinks, community colleges can allocate more of their resources to the education of older adults. The key components of older worker training programs include: (1) practical employment skills for mature adults; (2) responsiveness to the specific personnel needs of regional employers; (3) explicit performance objectives; (4) outreach to stimulate enrollment and ongoing vocational counseling; (5) sensitivity to the special needs of mature students, with an emphasis on short-term training that leads quickly to jobs or improved on-the-job performance; and (6) placement services. A distinct administrative unit run by a program developer with a gerontological perspective is essential to such a program. Examples of several successful programs and a bibliography are included. (JSP)
Descriptors: Adult Vocational Education, Aging (Individuals), Career Change, Community Colleges, Dislocated Workers, Job Training, Labor Force Development, Middle Aged Adults, Midlife Transitions, Nontraditional Students, Older Adults, Older Workers, Postsecondary Education, Program Descriptions, Program Design, Retraining, Skill Obsolescence, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts Univ., Boston. Gerontology Inst.