NIOSH has launched the National Center for Productive Aging and Work (NCPAW), a new virtual center that focuses on the safety of workers of all ages, promotes their lifelong well-being and advances the concept of productive aging.
The timing of the center’s formation is more relevant today than ever before. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, one in four American workers will be over the age of 55, many of them with no plans to retire anytime soon.
“Either by necessity or by choice, Americans are working longer than ever before. Our new center will focus on advancing the best ways to both address the needs and challenges of aging workers, and recognize the benefits of an aging workforce,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Optimizing working conditions to match the reality that every worker is aging, from the first day on the job to the last, is essential. If our nation is to maximize its economic potential and keep workers safe and healthy, we must make this area of research a top priority.”
The mission of NCPAW is to develop a research plan for improving the safety and health of workers of all ages, facilitate collaboration among researchers and partners, develop new interventions and highlight best practices for creating “aging-friendly” workplaces. Additionally, the center will help NIOSH advance national policies related to aging-friendly work and further important collaborations with other federal agencies, academic institutions, and stakeholders.
The center will also advance the concept of productive aging – providing a safe and healthy work environment for all workers, and creating conditions that allow workers to function optimally and thrive from their first day on any job until the last day before full retirement. It also recognizes the benefits that accrue to organizations as they retain the institutional knowledge and extensive skills of long-term, older workers.
Howard has appointed Dr. James Grosch, a senior research psychologist, and Dr. Juliann Scholl, a health communication fellow, to co-direct the new center.
For more information on productive aging and work, including the latest NIOSH research, tools, guidelines, data, and statistics, please visit the center’s new web home.