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Workforce Development in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers

This report by workforce experts Stephen A. Wandner, David E. Balducchi, and Christopher J. O’Leary undertakes a selective review of public workforce development programs in the United States over the last eighty years with a special emphasis on their importance to older Americans.

Particular attention is paid to services benefitting dislocated workers—that is, experienced adults permanently separated from their prior employers.  The Employment Service and the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker programs serve the greatest number of older workers.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program and the very small Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance program (now called Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance) are the only programs targeted specifically to older workers.

The policy options presented in the paper go beyond changes to the public workforce system embodied in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.