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SOC 295: Aging Workforce Issues University of Vermont Sociology Department Prof.

Barbara McIntosh 318 Kalkin Hall 656-0507 Summer 2012 After Class And By Appt.

DESCRIPTION: The recession brought economic security to the forefront, particularly for aging Americans. The anticipated age of retirement is being delayed but not necessarily by choice. With changing expectations it is important to ask a number of questions. What is the relationship between work and leisure? Is traditional retirement gone forever? What are the implications of living longer for productive activity? What are the management implications of a multigenerational workforce? How are employers going to respond to future labor shortages given inevitable demographic changes? Multiple pressures including shifting demographics, increasing labor demand, the changing nature of work, financing retirement, and the increasing cost of social support programs are changing expectations; and there is a clear impact on employment. Aging workforce issues are particularly complex because of the current regulatory and legal environment, productivity demands, and existing human resource policies and practices. This course examines labor market dynamics, employer practices, work/leisure preference patterns, economic security issues, and Federal policy as it impacts employment.

OBJECTIVES: At the end of this course students will be able to: Appreciate the characteristics of normal, productive aging. Understand the economic, legal, and social policy background against which the U.S. labor force is aging. Discuss the labor force dynamics shaping older worker and employer behavior. Explain the economic incentives and disincentives to work confronting aging Americans. Identify the human resource and organization behavior issues confronting employers regarding the employment of older workers. Understand the impact of age on work role Outline necessary changes in human resource policies and practices with respect to aging workers Analyze employment alternatives based upon domestic and international examples.

TEXTS: Czaja, Sara and Joseph Sharit (Eds) (2009) Aging and Work. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Dychtwald, Ken, Tamara Erickson, and Robert Morison (2006) Workforce Crisis Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. GRADING: Two Essay Exam s (15%@) Final Exam Paper/Policy Analysis Paper Presentation Participation 30% 20% 30% 10% 10%


BACKGROUND May 22 Introduction Overview of Demographics and Productive Activity Normal Aging: Understanding Behaviors Legal Environment and Social Policy Age Discrimination Issues: D1, D2, C1, C5

May 23


May 24

Labor Markets: Economic Theory and Economic Reality Labor Force Participation Rates (LFPR) and age Labor Markets: Race and Gender Considerations Changing Nature of Work

C2, C3, C6


May 29

Employee Attitudes Changing Expectations/Changing Career Patterns An Older Workers Viewpoint

D3, C17

May 30

Employer Attitudes: An Overview Employers Viewpoint Cost Assessment Staffing/Job Search Issues Productivity: Training and Retraining

C10 Handouts

D10, C12, C13

May 31

Motivation and Performance Managing Knowledge Transfer Multigenerational Issues

D4, D5, D7, C8, C11

June 5

Managing Career Trajectories Retention Issues/Preparation Productivity: Ability and Performance Management Ergonomics Safety and Health Issues Alternative Employment Options

D6, D8

June 6

D11, C14, C15, C16

June 7

HR Strategies and the Aging Workforce Flexibility Options Virtual Work Presentations: Older Worker and Employment Issues Final Paper Due: June 12

D9, D12, D13, C7

June 12

ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS: INCENTIVES AND DISINCENTIVES TO WORK June 13 Shifting Supports: Pensions, Savings, and Social Security & Health Insurance (Medicare/Medicaid) The Critical Impact on Employment The Federal Government Interface with Older Worker Employment: JTPA, WIBS Older Worker Programs in Vermont Looking to the Future Wrap-up Final Exam DUE: June 15, 5 p.m. Handouts

June 14


C: Conclusion