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When It Comes to Training, Don’t Forget About the Boomers
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

While an abundance of attention has been paid to training Millennials entering the workforce, much less has been given to educating their older counterparts. Workers in their 50s and 60s are often left out of the training equation—according to the U.S. Department of Labor Taskforce on the Aging of the American Workforce, workers between 25 and 34 received an average of 37 training hours per year, compared with nine hours for those over 55. From a strictly business viewpoint, this disparity makes sense. Simply put, older workers won’t be working as long as younger workers, so resources shouldn’t be invested in that demographic. However, older workers are just as eager to obtain additional training to keep themselves sharp and employable. According to an AARP Work and Career Study Survey, 80 percent of workers aged 45 to 64 said the opportunity to learn something new is critical in their conception of an ideal job, and 70 percent said training is essential in ideal employment. And while the conventional “they’ll retire soon” wisdom may prevail, the workforce growth rate of 65- to 74- year-olds will be about 55 percent over the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By contrast, the total labor force is expected to expand by just 5 percent. “These changing demographics will transform the U.S. labor market and society as a whole,” according to Peter Cappelli, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School Center for Human Resource. “Any employer who wants to engage a skilled, motivated, and disciplined workforce cannot afford to ignore them.”

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