This week is National Employ Older Workers Week (NEOWW), which celebrates the skills and contributions older workers bring to the workforce, and which encourages employers to hire these individuals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, older Americans are bypassing retirement and staying in the workforce longer. Forty percent of workers age 55 plus are still working, and they make up almost a quarter (23 percent) of the workforce. Additionally, this age group is projected to have fastest growing labor force participation rate between now and 2024, according to the BLS.

There are a few reasons that older workers are choosing to stay in the workforce. Longer life expectancy, more financial security, and a desire to stay active are all major contributing factors. The BLS also cites better education and changes to Social Security and other retirement benefits which creates incentives to keep working longer.

But workers reaching the traditional retirement age of 65 often face doubts about their enthusiasm to continue working and how they will interact with younger workers. Questions can also arise about their technological knowledge and willingness to adapt to new systems and processes. On the other hand, older workers often serve successfully in consultant or training roles. They can also serve as excellent mentors to younger people entering the workforce.

Older, low-income workers have a different set of challenges to overcome. To help these individuals find fulfilling employment, National Able Network and other agencies participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). As the Illinois Department on Aging explains it, “The SCSEP program promotes useful part-time (at minimum wage) training opportunities in community service activities for unemployed low-income persons…who are actively looking for employment.” National Able Network has found the SCSEP program to be a great resource for older workers and we encourage other organizations to explore SCSEP, too.

If you, or someone you know, is age 55 or better and looking to reenter the workforce, please click here or call 888.315.8558 to learn more about how National Able Network can help!