Gary A. Officer on the costs of not engaging the older worker

Thought leaders share ideas with WorkingNation Overheard at JFF Horizons 2023

The demand for labor requires recognition of the importance of the older worker, according to Gary A. Officer, founder and CEO, CWI Labs – noting that ageism costs the U.S. economy about $850 billion a year.

WorkingNation sat down with Officer at JFF Horizons in New Orleans.

“We talk about 10.1 million available jobs. We don’t talk about those who are in the market looking for jobs,” says Officer.

“It converts the long-term unemployed older worker into citizens and residents who simply give up. In most metropolitan areas in this country, the long-term unemployment rate for an older worker is about 22, 23%. Baltimore, Philly, Chicago, you name the city – that’s the long-term rate, particularly for older African Americans.”

Officer continues, “When you look at the labor force participation rate for older workers, it’s roughly 37, 38% versus 68% for the average American who can work if they choose.”

“We have to find ways as a system to acknowledge the talent, the willingness, and the skills the older Americans bring into the workforce and to make our programs inclusive of them as we think about the type of people we want to train and find a pathway back into the workforce,” says Officer.

He adds, “That’s the challenge. But it’s also a major opportunity.”

Learn more about CWI Labs.