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Job Skills Training and Opportunities: Opinions and Perceptions of Alabama Workers Age 40+

Nearly one in four residents in Alabama are ages 55 or older, half of those between the ages of 55 and 64 are employed, and 20.1 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. AARP in Alabama commissioned this survey to gain a deeper understanding of the perspective, skills, and needs of older workers in the state to better provide them with focused, targeted information and resources.

Seven hundred Alabama workers aged 40 and older, including full- and part-time workers and those looking for work, completed the survey. An additional 200 surveys were completed by African American workers aged 40 and older working full- or part-time or looking for work.

Key findings revealed:

  • Most (70%) Alabama workers aged 40 and older are extremely or very satisfied with their job, 53% have no plans to leave their current employer, and 21% are not looking for another job but would consider an offer presented to them.
  • Over the past five years, 59% of Alabama workers age 40+ have participated in job-related skills training or education programs offered to them by an employer and 86% of them indicate they personally have not had to pay for that training.  Additionally, 86% are satisfied with the work-related training opportunities offered through their employers, with 60% saying they are extremely or very satisfied, and another 26% indicating they are somewhat satisfied.
  • While 51% of survey respondents say they are extremely or very likely to engage in any job training through their employer over the next five years, 31% say they are not likely to do so.  What is more, 52% do not think that additional job training will help them advance in their job or help get a better job.
  • Most (80%) respondents say they have not taken any job-related training outside of work or through a community organization in the past five years.
  • Among all Alabama workers and those looking for work, 40% plan to continue working at their current job either full or part-time when they reach retirement age.  For the majority of respondents, needing or wanting additional income (84%), enjoying work (84%), building up a personal savings (79%), and maintaining health coverage for themselves or their families (72%) are major/minor factors in deciding to work beyond retirement.

Survey interviews were conducted from November 19 to December 10, 2008. This report discusses the differences in respondent opinion and experience by race primarily where statistically significant differences exist at the .05 level. For further information, contact Jennifer H. Sauer at 202-434-6207. (36 pages)