New Colo. Program Certifies Employers to be “Age-Friendly”

“Changing The Narrative” trains workplaces to become be a “Certified Age-Friendly Employer (CAFE)” ~

DENVER – Beginning this month, the “Changing the Narrative – Age-friendly Workplace Initiative” (CTN-AFWI) is rolling out a certification program aimed at Colorado employers and businesses that are committed to eliminating ageism in the workplace. CTN-AFWI will help them adapt their policies, procedures, and programs so that they can become a “Certified Age-Friendly Employer (CAFE).”

The non-profit initiative has been making presentations to chambers of commerce and HR groups across the state about the benefits of age-friendly and intergenerational workplaces, countering myths about older workers, and promoting concrete steps that employers can take to leverage the benefits of diverse workplaces.

Businesses involved in those presentations will be among those first to access the certification training and opportunity to become certified, but every Colorado employer is encouraged to get involved.

Demographic shifts resulting from increases in life expectancy mean that traditional retirement is changing now and unlikely to exist in the future. Instead, we will see longer employment, increasingly phased retirement, part-time or reduced hours, and other modified employment options that are conducive to continued participation in the workforce. Employers that address the needs of older workers will benefit not only themselves but the economy as a whole.

This special designation means the CTN-AFWI has determined —  following a confidential, comprehensive, in-depth training and analysis based on interviews with employers – that the workplace meets the standards of the Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) program. This designation was established in 2006 and is managed nationally by The Age Friendly Foundation. The Foundation’s Executive Director, Amanda Henshon, said “We are very pleased to be working together with the Changing the Narrative – Age-friendly Workplace Initiative to expand this program and make it easier for older adults to navigate to workplaces where they are welcomed.”

“As we’ve traveled around the state providing workshops for the last two years, we’ve heard so many stories about older people who want to remain in the workforce but are encountering barriers and stereotypes,” said Janine Vanderburg, initiative director for Changing the Narrative. ”At the same time, we know that employers are struggling to fill jobs. Partnering with the Age Friendly Foundation to offer this certification will help increase awareness of the value of older workers and help leading-edge businesses grow and thrive.”

A new AARP report found that older workers would have contributed a massive $850 billion more in 2018 to the GDP if they could have remained in or reentered the labor force, switched jobs or been promoted internally.

Age discrimination, including a lack of continuous training, being passed over for promotions, and being pushed out of employment early, can have a profound negative impact on an individual’s retirement readiness, undoing decades of preparation.

“Employing more older people provides benefits for individuals and our state,” said Karen Brown,  director for CTN-AFWI. “People who continue to work and delay their retirement could pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into Colorado’s economy. In fact, full-time workers over 65 maintain higher spending rates than their retired peers.”

The AARP study makes it clear that in order to benefit from age inclusion and to build a multi-generational workforce, employers need to recognize age bias and actively stop it. They need to bust antiquated myths about older workers, be it that they cost too much or are not tech-savvy. Older adults are a hidden treasure for employers, offering experience, knowledge, dependability, productivity, maturity, as well as the abilities to problem-solve, to remain calm under pressure, and to mentor younger colleagues.

CTN-AFWI hopes that every workplace will address ageism and leverage the benefits of being an age-friendly employer.  Employers interested in finding out more can contact:
Changing the Narrative via their online contact form or by emailing cafe@changingthenarrativeco.org


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