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Living Stronger, Earning Longer: Redefining Retirement in the 21st Century

Testimony Before the Senate Special Committee on Aging

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am Douglas Holbrook, a member of AARP's Board of Directors. Thank you for convening this hearing to explore policies and programs to foster longer workforce participation by a valuable resource - older employees.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, the AARP Bulletin, AARP Segunda Juventud, NRTA Live & Learn, and provide information via our website, AARP publications reach more households than any other publication in the United States. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AARP advocates for policies that enhance and protect the economic security of individuals as they move from work to retirement. Through its research, publications, advocacy, and training programs, AARP seeks to eliminate ageist stereotypes; encourage employers to hire and retain older workers; and help older workers overcome obstacles in the workplace. This is important to AARP because approximately 45 percent of our more than 35 million members are employed. AARP is working on many fronts to promote employment for older persons as well as to address the challenges and opportunities for employees and employers in the workplace.

I. Advocacy

AARP has long been a leader in advocacy efforts to expand and protect older workers' rights both on the legislative and regulatory fronts. AARP advocates for the elimination of age discrimination in employment; promotes policies that provide for expanded work opportunities; and advocates for fair terms and conditions of employment as well as for adequate benefits, including pensions and retiree health coverage.

Recent efforts include advocating for legislative changes to employment placement and training programs to include more older workers and respond to their needs. AARP has pursued improvements in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 in a number of areas. Specifically, we have urged inclusion in the reauthorization of provisions that would:

  • Target training requirements to serve currently employed older workers
  • Ensure that One-Stop Centers have adequate staff and equipment to assess and serve the needs of older workers
  • Help employers prepare for an older workforce, and
  • Encourage public and private sector entities to promote workforce skill-building and continuing education to older workers.

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