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ASSESSING WORKFORCE

DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS:
BENCHMARKS FOR MATURE AND OLDER WORKERS

DEVELOPED BY
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE UNITS ON AGING

WITH SUPPORT FROM
THE RETIREMENT RESEARCH FOUNDATION

REPRINTED NOVEMBER, 1999
The National Association of State Units on Aging, established in 1964,is a national, non-profit organization providing general and specialized information, technical assistance and professional development support to state agencies on aging. NASUA's membership is comprised of the 57 state and territorial government agencies designated by the governors and state legislatures to serve as the focal point for issues affecting older citizens in the state. NASUA is the articulating force at the national level through which the state agencies on aging join together to promote social policy responsive to the needs of an aging America.

Through its National Clearinghouse on State and Local Older Worker Programs, the Association conducts research and policy analysis on workforce development issues affecting mature/older workers; tracks policy and program developments; facilitates best practice exchange across states; and serves as liaison between state agencies on aging and a variety of national organizations and federal agencies.

The Retirement Research Foundation of Chicago, endowed in 1978 by the late John D. MacArthur, is the nation's largest private foundation exclusively devoted to aging and retirement issues. It makes approximately $8 million in grants each year to support programs, research, and public policy studies to improve the quality of life of older Americans.

NASUA is grateful to the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, for enabling the Benchmarks to be updated and reprinted for on-going dissemination to the field.

INTRODUCTION

As we approach the year 2000, a number of powerful economic and social forces are reshaping the American workplace and the work experience of millions of Americans. Yet, most of the policies and programs currently in place to assist the American worker through this rapid transformation were designed in another time--the 1930s and 1960s--when workers faced a very different set of challenges and opportunities. As a result, policymakers in the public and private sectors are in the process of re-examining and redesigning those policies and programs. Unfortunately, despite the increasing significance of mature and older workers in the workforce, their unique needs, preferences and interests are being neglected in these workforce reform efforts.

In July of 1997, with funding from The Retirement Research Foundation, The Clearinghouse on State and Local Older Worker Programs, a component of the National Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA), launched a national initiative to develop and disseminate the information, strategies, and tools needed to influence the future direction of workforce development reform to benefit mature and older workers. More specifically, the goal of this effort, "Reform of State Workforce Development Systems: Accent on the Mature and Older Worker," is to equip state and local policymakers, administrators and advocates with the policy options, program models and service delivery strategies they need to influence the future design and operations of employment and training programs.

The critical first step in this two year initiative is the development of a set of benchmarks and their concomitant indicators which can be used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of workforce development reform efforts in responding to the needs and preferences of mature and older workers. NASUA is pleased herein to provide you with this analytical advocacy tool.

The benchmarks and indicators are organized around the structure, organization and operation of the various components of the reformed workforce development systems--state and local task forces/boards; one-stop career centers; labor market data, information and analysis; outreach and recruitment; job development; public-private sector collaboration; linkages with human service and aging service systems; and performance goals/measures. They were developed collaboratively with federal, state and local administrators, providers and advocates of mature and older worker programs and services.

NASUA wants to especially acknowledge the assistance in developing the benchmarks of the many state agency on aging older worker specialists who have been and will continue to be critical to the success of this initiative. Likewise, we want to thank NASUA's Workforce Development Committee which serves as the overall advisory committee to this national effort. Finally, without the support of the Retirement Research Foundation this important work would not have been possible.

ASSESSING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS:
BENCHMARKS FOR MATURE AND OLDER WORKERS

1.The State Workforce Investment Board (WIB) includes individuals knowledgeable of mature/older worker issues.

INDICATORS

1.1 Are mature/older workers represented on the state WIB?

1.2 Are state aging network representatives included on the state WIB?

1.3 Do mature/older worker advocates serve on the state WIB?

1.4 Are businesses and industries with experience employing mature/older workers included on the state WIB?

1.5 Are providers of education, training and community service employment to mature/older workers represented on the state WIB?

2. The Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) include individuals knowledgeable of mature/older worker issues.

INDICATORS

2.1 Are mature/older workers represented on the local WIBs?

2.2 Are aging organizations included on the local WIBs?

2.3 Do mature/older worker advocates serve on the local WIBs?

2.4 Are businesses and industries with experience employing mature/older workers

included on the local WIBs?

2.5 Are providers of education, training and community service employment services

to mature/older workers represented on the local WIBs?

3. The State Workforce Investment Board (WIB) incorporates mature/older worker issues and needs in its strategic plans and in performance goals.

INDICATORS

3.1 Does the process for developing the plan provide opportunities for input on mature/older worker issues?

3.2 Does the strategic plan specifically mention mature/older workers?

3.3 Does the strategic plan broadly address mature/older worker issues?

3.4 Are there performance goals focused on mature/older workers?

4. The Local Workforce Investment Board incorporates mature/older worker issues and needs in its strategic plans and in performance goals.

INDICATORS

4.1 Does the process for developing the plan provide opportunities for input on mature/older worker issues?

4.2 Does the strategic plan specifically mention mature/older workers?

4.3 Does the strategic plan broadly address mature/older worker issues?

4.4 Are there performance goals focused on mature/older workers?

5. The staff of the One-Stop Career Centers are adequately prepared to serve mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

5.1 Does the One-Stop have a training curriculum for its staff which includes mature/older worker issues?

5.2 Are staff trained in mature/older worker issues in general?

5.3 Are staff trained on how to adapt specific job functions to effectively serve mature/older workers?

5.4 Are mature/older worker issues included in the ongoing training of existing and new personnel?

5.5 Do aging agencies provide training for One-Stop staff on a regular basis?

5.6 Does the composition of the staff include mature/older workers?

6.Specialized assistance is available for mature/older workers to effectively utilize the One-Stops.

INDICATORS

6.1 Are there special orientation sessions for mature/older workers on how to use the various resources and services of the One-Stop?

6.2 Are intake and assessment forms and processes used which have been normed for mature/older workers?

6.3 Do staff assist mature/older workers in learning to access and use computerized information resources and library materials?

6.4 Do staff conduct database searches for mature/older workers unable to use the technology?

6.5 Do staff assist mature/older workers develop resumes and interviewing skills?

5.6 Are staff available to assist mature/older workers to access supportive services that may be required in order for the job seeker to be employed?

5.7 Are mature/older workers employed in the One-Stop?

5.8 Is there a mature/older worker specialist who provides tailored assistance to mature/older workers?

5.9 Are orientation/training activities for mature/older workers based upon adult learning principles?

7.The One-Stop accommodates mature/older workers and other individuals with sensory impairments and physical limitations.

INDICATORS

7.1 Does the One-Stop use methods, materials and equipment that are proven to be successful in accommodating persons with disabilities?

7.2 Is specialized assistance/equipment used in training/orientation sessions to accommodate the hearing impaired?

7.3 Is computer hardware available that accommodates mature/older workers and other individuals with visual impairments and other physical disabilities?

7.4 Are the computer images--colors, font size, contrast, textures, artwork, sound, etc.-- designed to accommodate mature/older workers and other individuals with vision impairments?

7.5 Are software orientation sessions held for individuals with visual impairments?

7.6 Does the One-Stop comply with all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements?

8.The One-Stop databases contain information and resources that are relevant to mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

8.1 Does the database contain job opportunities inclusive of, but not limited to, businesses and industries that have traditionally hired mature/older workers, including small businesses?

8.2 Does the database contain information related to part-time and/or seasonal work appropriate for mature/older workers?

8.3 Does the database contain employment and training providers with experience in serving mature/older workers?

8.4 Does the database contain training and support groups for becoming an entrepreneur?

8.5 Does the database contain aging services--transportation, housing, caregiver supports, etc.--that may be needed by mature/older job seekers in order to work?

8.6 Does the database contain other resources--i.e. adult education, literacy training, vocational rehabilitation, etc.-- that may be needed by mature/older job seekers in order to work ?

8.7 Does the information available on employment and training providers include their success rate in placing mature/older workers in jobs?

8.8 Does the database contain listings of professional employment services, both public and private, to meet the needs of professional, management and technical mature/older workers?

9.The One-Stop has an outreach and recruitment plan that includes mature/older workers as a target audience.

INDICATORS

9.1 Is there a written outreach plan?

9.2 Was the plan developed with input from those knowledgeable on how best to reach and serve mature/older workers?

9.3 Does it include activities targeted to mature/older workers?

9.4 Do One-Stop promotional materials mention mature/older workers?

9.5 Are there opportunities for satellite one-stop centers at sites which serve mature/older persons?

10. The One-Stop has an outreach and recruitment plan targeting minority mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

10.1 Does the One-Stop's written outreach plan include specific activities targeted to minority mature/older workers?

10.2 Was the plan developed with input from those knowledgeable about how best to reach and serve this population group?

10.3 Does the plan provide opportunities for the participation of minority education and training providers?

10.4 Does the One-Stop have the capacity to communicate with mature/older workers in the primary language spoken in their homes?

10.5 Have the One-Stop staff received ethnic and cultural sensitivity training?

10.6 Does the One-Stop provide services in a culturally sensitive manner?

11. One-Stop job development efforts include a focus on job opportunities for mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

11.1 Do job developers actively educate employers about the myths and realities of mature/ older workers as employees?

11.2 Is there a specialist in mature/older worker job development?

11.3 Are mature/older workers provided equal access to all job opportunities?

11.4 Are mature/older workers being trained for jobs available in the local job market?

12. The labor market information and analysis provided by the One-Stop is useful to mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

12.1 Is statistical information provided by age group?

12.2 Are special analyses prepared for mature/older workers?

12.3 Is there a focus on mature/older workers in analyses of specialized businesses or industries?

12.4 Does the labor market information include specific data on employed mature/older workers and what kind of jobs they have?

12.5 Do the analyses provide information on which industries are specifically recruiting mature/older workers?

13. The One-Stop has the necessary linkages and partnerships to ensure the availability of specialized training for mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

13.1 Does the One-Stop have working relationships with providers of employment and training services -- community colleges, universities, non-profits, businesses -- with experience and success with mature/older workers including those providing services under the Older Americans Act Senior Community Services Employment Program(SCSEP)?

13.2 Does the One-Stop provide technical assistance to employment and training providers on adapting training to more effectively serve mature/older workers?

13.3 Does the One-Stop team with aging agencies to provide technical assistance to employment and training providers?

14. The One-Stop maintains strong linkages with the aging service system to facilitate access to supportive services needed by older persons in order to work.

INDICATORS

14.1 Is there a memorandum of understanding between the One-Stop and the Area Agency on Aging?

14.2 Is there a written referral agreement between the Area Agency on Aging and the One-Stop?

14.3 Do the One-Stop and Area Agency on Aging staff have regular meetings?

14.4 Does the Area Agency on Aging provide training and regular updates to the One-Stop staff on aging services?

14.5 Does the One-Stop staff provide training and regular updates to the Area Agency on Aging staff on the local job market and on employment and training activities?

15. The Senior Community Service Employment Program is linked to the One-Stop.

INDICATORS

15.1 Is there a memorandum of understanding between the One-Stop and the SCSEP sponsors in the area?

15.2 Is there a written referral agreement between the SCSEP sponsors in the area and the One-Stop?

15.3 Can a mature/older worker gain access to SCSEP through the One-Stop?

15.4 Does the One-Stop refer mature/older workers to SCSEP?

15.5 Can SCSEP enrollees gain access to other employment and training services through the One-Stop?

15.6 Is there a SCSEP representative in the One-Stop?

15.7 Does SCSEP provide specialized services in support of mature/older workers at the One-Stop?

16. Economic Development Agencies are linked to the One-Stop.

INDICATORS

16.1 Can a mature/older worker access the Economic Development Agency through the One-Stop?

16.2 Is information on small business, microenterprise development, and second careers available to mature/older workers through the One-Stop?

17. The One-Stop collects and reports data on its operations which includes a focus on service to mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

17.1 Does the One-Stop conduct customer satisfaction surveys which indicate the level of satisfaction of mature/older workers?

17.2 Does the One-Stop provide information on the percent of mature/older workers utilizing One-Stop services who get placed in a job?

17.3 Does the One-Stop provide after-placement information on salaries/wages and benefits of mature/older workers using One-Stop services?

17.4 Are mature/older workers served at least in proportion to their representation in the local labor market?

17.5 Does the One-Stop provide data on the success of employment and training providers in placing mature/older workers?

18. Performance measures demonstrate how well the workforce development system responds to the needs of mature/older workers.

INDICATORS

18.1 Were the performance measures developed with input from those knowledgeable about the needs of mature/older workers?

18.2 Do performance measures include a focus on service to mature/older workers?

National Association of State Units on Aging

1225 I Street, N.W., Suite 725
Washington, D. C. 20005
(202) 898-2578

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