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The Arizona Mature Workforce Initiative Logo
The Arizona Mature Workforce Initiative
The Arizona Mature Workforce Initiative Logo

The demographic projections are clear.  By 2012, nearly 20% of the total U.S. workforce will be age 55 or older, up from just under 13% in 2000i.  This growth in the number of older workers reflects the fact that the population as a whole is getting older due to several factors, including the aging of the Baby Boom generation, lower birth rates for generations immediately following the baby boom, and longer life expectanciesii.

As the 76-million Baby Boom Generation nears traditional retirement age, many U.S. companies and governments are facing a potentially significant loss of talent and institutional knowledge across key areas, including leadership, sales, and technical disciplines.  With the pending retirement of the baby boomers – the first of whom will be eligible for early Social Security benefits in 2008 – many analysts are predicting growing labor shortages in tomorrow’s workforce.  Indeed, many employers in Arizona are already facing or anticipating shortages and are starting to take steps to manage their workforce needs.  In addition to the well-known shortages of nurses and other health care professionals, many organizations and systems that rely on specially trained individuals such as teachers, engineers, and the like are also feeling the pressure of labor shortages.  While the impact of this undeniable trend will vary from industry to industry and among different job categories, many companies will be able to avoid the drain by encouraging today’s mature workers – those age 50 and over – to stay in the workforce longer. 

The Arizona Mature Workforce Initiative

To address these concerns and ensure that Arizona has both opportunities for older people to work and remain self-sufficient throughout their lives, and to support business growth and development across the state in light of an aging workforce, in February 2005, Governor Janet Napolitano launched the Arizona Mature Workforce Initiative (MWI).  This initiative is designed to raise visibility, awareness, appreciation of and employment opportunities for mature workers, while addressing labor force shortages in the business sector.  In addition, the MWI aims to provide mature workers with new points of access to training that will allow them to remain competitive in the job market and to provide them connections to employers who value their experience.  By developing a healthy exchange of ideas and dialog among the mature workforce, business and industry, government, and their local communities, we are able to ensure meaningful employment opportunities for mature workers and provide businesses with the ability to address at least some of the impact of an aging workforce.

To learn more about the accomplishments of the MWI and current activities, check out the Full Report or the Executive Summary.

i Mitra Toosi, “Labor Force projections to 2012:  The Graying of the U.S. Workforce,” Monthly Labor Review, February 2004.  Mitra Toosi, “A Century of Change: The U.S. Labor Force, 1950-2050,” Monthly Labor Review, May 2002. 

ii Towers Perrin.  “The Business Case for Workers Age 50+: Planning for Tomorrow’s Talent Needs in Today’s Competitive Environment,”  AARP: Washington, DC, December 2005.

 

   

 
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