Oct. 2, 2003
Dr. Jan Bowman, professor of gerontology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, was a keynote presenter at the "New Issues in Retirement International Symposium" sponsored by Statistics of Canada and the University of Montreal in Ottawa (Ontario) Canada, held recently. The topic of her presentation was the "Economic Impact of Job Loss on Older American Workers: Implications and Policy Suggestions." Labor economists, statisticians, and gerontologists who specialize in work and retirement issues attended the symposium.
According to Bowman's research, every nation in the world is experiencing an aging population, which places increased burdens on pension and retirement systems worldwide. Many countries are analyzing their labor pools and are initiating policies that increase the opportunity for persons to work later in life. However, the current trend worldwide is to encourage or mandate that middle age and older workers leave the paid labor force.
The United States does not have mandatory retirement. However, each year the millions of workers who find themselves cut from the payroll are older individuals with a history of strong labor-force attachments. These middle age and older workers often find it difficult to obtain similar work with comparable salaries and benefits. This affects their savings and retirement decisions.
Bowman's research interest about the effects of job loss on economic security of middle age and older workers spans across 20 years and was also the subject of a research study that Dr. Robert Eisenstadt, associate professor and interim head of ULM's department of economics and finance, co-authored with her for the AARP Andrus Research Foundation. They found that persons who engage in lifelong learning opportunities increase their competitiveness in the labor force and are more likely to re-enter the labor market or avoid job layoffs all together.
Tying this research interest into application, Bowman has worked with creating partnerships between business and industry, education, and governmental sectors in providing education and training across the life course. Examples of how the University of Louisiana at Monroe has implemented these partnerships with business and industry are an integral part of the policy and program suggestions that she has been able to present to policy makers and educators, nationally and internationally over the past year.
In addition to the symposium in Ottawa, Canada, Bowman provided a workshop on "Lifelong Learning: Higher Education and the Business of Aging" at the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education Meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla., earlier this year.
Further information about the job displacement research study can be found at Gerontology: www.ulm.edu/~jbowman.