Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that the 2007-2008 state budget includes $100,000 in funding for the Mature Worker Taskforce. She is co-sponsoring legislation (A.5565) that will create a taskforce within the state Office for the Aging to begin planning for the coming demographic shift in the workforce as our population ages.
It is critical that we begin to identify priorities, policy alternatives and emerging issues with respect to assisting both businesses and older New Yorkers, said Lupardo. The Mature Worker Taskforce will ensure a coordination of public and private efforts to address the needs of the growing numbers of older workers and to help allocate resources as necessary.
The taskforce would be comprised of appropriate state agency personnel, as well as aging advocates, mature workers ages fifty five and older, senior service providers, employment training specialist and representatives of labor and business interests. The legislation to create the taskforce is currently pending in both the Assembly and Senate, but expected to pass later this year.
Many aging baby boomers plan to continue working beyond age 65; however, there are several legal, financial and institutional barriers that inhibit their pursuit of continued employment, education or volunteer opportunities, said Lupardo. It is critical that we begin to plan for the age wave so that we are better prepared to help seniors stay in our community and stay involved.
Projections are showing clearly that older workers will continue to make up a rapidly growing percentage of the work force. This growth represents the fact that the population as a whole is getting older due to several factors, including the aging of the Baby Boom generation, lower birth rates for generations immediately following the baby boom, longer life expectancies and younger generations leaving the state to work elsewhere.
As the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Buffalo Branch reported last summer, the need for new workers is likely to be more acute in Upstate, where the population is older and has aged more rapidly than the national average, largely because younger adults are moving away in increasingly large numbers.
According to the Aging Futures Partnership, the population in Broome County that is age 60 or over is 20.7 percent, which is well above the national average of 16.2 percent and the New York state average of 16.8 percent. In addition, the population age 65 and over grew 3.16 percent between the 1990 and 2000 census, while the overall population for Broome County fell 5.4 percent.