An advocacy campaign against age discrimination has debuted an “Certified Age-Friendly Employer” initiative that recognizes companies in Colorado that support employees aged 50 and older.
"As we've traveled around the state providing workshops for the last two years, we've heard so many stories about older people who want to remain in the workforce but are encountering barriers and stereotypes," said Janine Vanderburg of Changing the Narrative. “At the same time, we know that employers are struggling to fill jobs.”
Colorado has a record-low unemployment rate of 2.5%. The 2019 Talent Pipeline Report from the state found that the labor force participation of those aged 55 and older is nearly six percentage points higher than the national average, as people are working for longer.
Changing the Narrative offers trainings that cover ageism and public attitudes toward older Americans in the workforce. The employer certification involves a training and interview with the employer to ensure that the workplace meets the standards of the initiative.
A recent report from AARP found that the average retirement age was 59.9 years in 2017. Workplaces sometimes adopt formal or informal policies that have a discriminatory effect against older workers, including a preference toward hiring younger workers, a stigma against switching jobs later in life, and lack of opportunity for advancement due to age.
“People who continue to work and delay their retirement could pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into Colorado’s economy," said Karen Brown, director for Changing the Narrative.