Congress Must Act to Support Older Workers

Goodwill® Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Fully Fund and Protect Programs for Older Workers

ROCKVILLE, MD — May is Older Americans Month and provides a perfect opportunity to show appreciation for the older adults in the community and in the workforce. While the economy continues to improve overall, millions of Americans are still struggling to find employment. Older workers have been particularly harmed by the recession, with many losing their jobs and worrying about their retirement security.
According to an issue brief recently released by the National Employment Law Project, by 2019, more than 40 percent of Americans aged 55 and over will be employed, making up more than 25 percent of the U.S. labor force. In addition, the number of Americans aged 65 and over will rise from about 13 percent in 2008 to 20 percent by 2040. Those older Americans face significant challenges to returning to the workplace — including age discrimination and the need for re-training. Goodwill is calling on Congress to preserve and strengthen programs that address the long-term unemployment crisis, both for seniors and for the millions of other Americans still looking for work.
Goodwill is the leading nonprofit provider of job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for older workers, people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, and other job seekers in both the United States and Canada. Last year, Goodwill provided skills training, financial education, and affordable housing and health care to more than 150,000 seniors in the United States and Canada.
“At Goodwill, we believe that every person deserves the chance to become economically self-sufficient through the power of work,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.  “Unfortunately, that task is increasingly difficult for older workers facing significant hurdles to finding employment.”
Goodwill is urging Congress to address the long-term unemployment crisis head-on by passing a budget that considers the needs of seniors and others who are unable to secure employment. This includes reauthorizing and strengthening the Older Americans Act, which funds the delivery of social services to seniors, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program, the only federal program designed to prepare older workers for the modern labor market.
“It is clear that the job training and career services funded by these programs are vital for the millions of older Americans looking for work,” said Gibbons “Helping seniors and other Americans get back to work should be priority number one for Congress.”