Summary

Launched
2015
Estimated duration
2 years
Estimated total value
$100,000
Regions
Northern America
Locations
United States
Partners
College for America at Southern New Hampshire University; AARP

ADVANCE: Building New Experience

Approach

AARP Foundation and College for America (CfA) commit to providing 200 working learners, age 50 and older with the opportunity, through their employers, to build their technology skills, pursue an associate degree, and upgrade their skills and advance their careers within the company. AARP Foundation and CfA will engage two to three large employers in healthcare or another STEM industry and will learn where the employers face skills gaps. CfA will then offer one of three credentialing programs for their employees, establishing micro-credentials targeted to address specific skills gaps, as appropriate, that stack into a larger certificate or degree.

CfA and employers will work together to engage workers; using such strategies as co-branded posters, payroll stuffers, communications from leadership, and CfA-led in–person and online information sessions; while AARP Foundation also sends communications directly to workers to endorse the initiative and encourage participation. Employers will provide selected employees with tuition assistance for the cost of the program, allowing them to enroll in CfA’s flexible, online, self-directed, and fully accredited competency-based degree and certificates, which are designed for working adults. Enrolled students will be assigned a learning coach who will work with the student on goal setting, pace setting, and addressing challenges, all with a goal of ensuring persistence and completion.

AARP Foundation will also work with CfA to create appropriate peer-to-peer learning communities online and at employer locations, through which participating workers will meet monthly to encourage each other and share strategies for how to balance work, home, and training. Employers will be able to monitor student progress through a portal, and CfA and AARP Foundation will have monthly check ins with employers to clarify how the process is working and work on adjustments, where needed, to ensure a smooth partnership.

This initiative will be an employee engagement, retention, and advancement strategy for businesses. They will have a cost-effective solution for upskilling their experienced incumbent workers, who will gain skills and credentials affording them the opportunity to adapt to changing technologies, increase productivity, and remain effective on the job.

June – August 2015:
CfA and AARP FDN meet to solidify plan.
Finalize employers and student start dates based on discussions
Reach and secure three large employers to be partners.
Complete outreach plan and customization of peer-to-peer community activities.

September 2015:
Launch the initiative

September 2015 – May 2017:

September 2015: Launch Employer #1
Implement outreach to employees age 50 and older within participating company, host orientation meetings, and secure a cohort of working learners.
CfA and AARP Foundation will design an appropriate peer-to-peer community experience at employer location.
AARP Foundation and CfA will meet with the employer lead to review progress and trouble shoot.
AARP Foundation and CfA will conduct customer satisfaction surveys for employer and working learners and a 6-month follow up to review employment status.
Review progress of participating learners at employer site.

November 2015: Launch Employer #2
Implement outreach to employees age 50 and older within participating company, host orientation meetings, and secure a cohort of working learners.
CfA and AARP Foundation will design an appropriate peer-to-peer community experience at employer location.
AARP Foundation and CfA will meet with the employer lead to review progress and trouble shoot.
AARP Foundation and CfA will conduct customer satisfaction surveys for employer and working learners and a 6-month follow up to review employment status.
Review progress of participating learners at employer site.

March 2016: Launch Employer #3
Implement outreach to employees age 50 and older within participating company, host orientation meetings, and secure a cohort of working learners.
CfA and AARP Foundation will design an appropriate peer-to-peer community experience at employer location.
AARP Foundation and CfA will meet with the employer lead to review progress and trouble shoot.
AARP Foundation and CfA will conduct customer satisfaction surveys for employer and working learners and a 6-month follow up to review employment status.
Review progress of participating learners at employer site.

April 2017:
AARP Foundation and CfA will produce a final After Action Report that includes information on employer satisfaction, learner satisfaction, and data around working learner persistence and completion rates.

Background

The 4.6 million youngest baby boomers could easily be working two decades from now if retirement age trends continue. Many of these workers’ livelihoods depend upon their ability to remain in the workforce. This poses a mixed blessing for business leaders across the country. On one hand, baby boomers possess institutional knowledge and skills, which businesses fear losing. By remaining on the job, the speed of the associated “brain drain” is slowed. Furthermore, given its aging demographic and improving economy, our nation faces a worker shortage in such areas as healthcare, and STEM occupations.

On the other hand, many older workers lack some of the skills that are required in a changing economy. For example, many frontline jobs now require digital literacy, an ability to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally, and the capacity to work well in teams across departments, and with individuals at different levels within an organization. Furthermore, analytical, decision-making, and people management skills are all increasingly important. While research shows older workers have strong soft skills that employers need, it also highlights age bias that leads to those skills being under-valued or discounted. Employers tend to invest their training resources in younger workers because they assume older workers will retire soon or are not interested in the training. This intervention will serve to enhance the business case for employers to invest in workers age 50 and older and enable older workers to access training, validate their skills to their employer, and enhance the value they bring to their employer.

Workers who are not able to keep up with the changing workplace needs risk losing their jobs, and job loss during the pre-retirement years can undermine financial security both now and into the future.

Progress Update

August 2017

Organization decided to discontinue the project – SD

Partnership Opportunities

The commitment-makers seek employer partners representing healthcare and STEM industries to work with CfA and AARP Foundation, selecting students from the employer’s workforce.

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.