Today, a confluence of factors is prompting America to change the way it thinks about age and work. The economic downturn, shifting perceptions of retirement, increased workplace flexibility, and the aging of the "baby boom" generation are all contributing to people working longer. Many of these capable, experienced mature workers develop disabilities as they age, or existing disabilities may become more significant. To retain the talents of these valuable, skilled workers, employers can implement a variety of workplace practices, many of which benefit all workers and make good business sense. The following resources provide more information about the topic of older workers:

Reports from ODEP's NTAR Leadership Center

National Technical Assistance and Research Center to Promote Leadership for Increasing the Employment and Economic Independence of Adults with Disabilities (NTAR Leadership Center) issued these reports that examine the disability implications of an aging workforce.

Community College Briefs

Postsecondary education is increasingly important for older job seekers' reemployment. Yet, they may face potential challenges in accessing and completing education and training due to their greater likelihood of having acquired age-related disabilities. The following three briefs provide new research data and findings on older students and dislocated workers researched by the NTAR Leadership Center. Existing data, such as that from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, does not track the numbers of dislocated workers enrolled at community colleges; and nearly three-quarters of community colleges reported very few students with disabilities enrolled (less than three percent of their student population). Moreover, among older students, unidentified disabilities are not documented, which provides challenges for community colleges to document their statistics on older students with disabilities.

  • Community College Practices that Serve Older Dislocated Workers (PDF) — This brief highlights strategies and findings at five community colleges serving high numbers of dislocated workers and examines how those practices meet the needs of older workers, some of whom may be aging with or into disabilities.
  • How Are Community Colleges Serving the Needs of Older Students with Disabilities? (PDF) — To examine the issues related to older students with disabilities, this brief documents the research conducted to learn how colleges—in particular, community colleges—can better support the education and training needs of these students.
  • Working for Adults: State Policies and Community College Practices to Better Serve Adult Learners at Community Colleges During the Great Recession and Beyond (PDF) — This report synthesizes knowledge about how community colleges serve adults. The first section provides background and context on adults at community colleges, while the second section details the methodology used in this research. Other sections describe the findings on the enrollment of adults at community colleges, recent initiatives that have sought to support adults at community colleges, the state policy and college practices related to adults' enrollment, and research on student outcomes and the implications for what is known about state policy and college practice. The final section highlights recommendations for policymakers and practitioners interested in serving adults at community colleges, including those with disabilities.

ODEP and other DOL agency resources

Other resources