New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW) and the Age-Friendly Institute have partnered in an effort to make it easier for older New Jersey residents to land work with employers that proactively recruit and retain age 50+ employees. Age-Friendly Institute President Tim Driver and NJAAW Executive Director Cathy Rowe said, “We’re delighted to join forces to better connect employers and older residents in the great state of New Jersey.”
The Certified Age-Friendly Employer (CAFE) Program, developed by a team of analysts and professionals with specializations in compensation, benefits and HR, began establishing best practices for being an age-friendly employer in 2006. There are hundreds of employers in the program across all industries, including both the private and public sectors.
“Employers and older New Jersey residents alike stand to significantly benefit,” said Rowe. “Employers will be better able to retain employees and to attract candidates. They can also expand their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts to include age, and learn from experts and peers about what it means to be ‘age friendly’. This particular type of diversity is sometimes overlooked. For the older adults we serve, this program helps them know where to turn, and to save time by applying first at Garden State employers whose cultures are more likely to welcome them in.”
In October 2021, New Jersey passed legislation to fight age discrimination in the workforce. The law closed a loophole that requires some state government workers to retire once they hit a certain age and repealed language that allowed employers to refuse to hire someone who is 70 or older. It also repealed the mandatory retirement age of 70 for tenured employees at colleges and universities. “Bringing the CAFÉ program to New Jersey will further advance the rights and recognition of the value older residents bring to the workforce at the time many employers are experiencing worker shortages,” added Rowe.
Helping older adults work longer includes stakeholders of many stripes. They include research and advocacy organizations like NJAAW and the Age-Friendly Institute, and policy makers, like the State of Massachusetts, which in 2022 became the first state in the U.S. to become certified as an age-friendly employer.
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