Recommendations to enhance older adults' civic engagement sent to Governor, General Assembly
Initiatives will promote lifelong learning, employment and volunteerism
Since its formation in 2008, the Ohio Senior Civic Engagement Council has identified ways that older adults' engagement in employment, volunteering and lifelong learning can be enhanced and continue to positively influence our state. The council developed 13 recommendations, which were submitted to Governor Ted Strickland and the General Assembly.
1. Conduct a statewide marketing campaign to inform older adults about available programs and activities. The Ohio Department of Aging will develop a statewide senior engagement marketing campaign that will inform people about educational, employment and volunteerism opportunities.
2. Conduct a study to identify important factors, benefits and any barriers related to older adults' contributions to society. Ohio will conduct a longitudinal study of individuals age 50 and older that focuses on issues related to civic engagement. The study will collect data about expectations, opportunities and retirement plans for older Ohioans.
3. Increase participation in, tracking of, and recognition for non-credit, lifelong learning classes. The Ohio Board of Regents will work to promote lifelong learning programs and more effectively track non-credit participants. The board also will encourage institutions to report strategies and programs for lifelong learners. The board, with the Department of Aging, also will establish a pilot project to approve CEUs and PDUs for non-credit, lifelong learning participation.
4. Develop a statewide process to gather data on the number of adult students, age 50 and older, enrolled in non-credit classes at Ohio's educational institutions. Ohio community colleges and public universities will report the number of older learners to the Board of Regents and the Department of Aging. The department and the board also will establish a pilot project to review and certify non-credit courses for older learners.
5. Promote Program 60 to academic institutions to increase its use. Ohio will encourage its two- and four-year institutions to promote Program 60 for individuals age 60 and older to take for-credit classes, based on their ability to meet certain guidelines, and in some cases without having to pay full tuition.
6. Establish a statewide senior engagement professional consortium. The Department of Aging will establish and lead a statewide consortium of lifelong learning professionals and organizations that will facilitate the exchange of information and resources to meet the educational needs of older adults.
7. Organize an annual statewide event or regional events to connect employers with the aging, workforce and educational systems. The Department of Aging will work with the Ohio Department of Development and other partners to host an annual statewide event or regional events to educate employers, educational system professionals and the aging network about older workers and related issues.
8. Use existing resources to conduct statewide surveys of older adults and employers. The Department of Aging will partner with agencies that conduct statewide surveys of older adults and employers to include older-worker specific questions in their surveys.
9. Encourage older worker representation in workforce development groups. The Department of Aging will work to include older worker representation on state-funded workforce development groups. The department also will encourage regional development and planning groups and boards to include older worker representatives to serve as advocates for older workers.
10. Reallocate funding for and awareness of existing resources that assist older workers. The state will encourage workforce investment boards to ensure a portion of existing funds are used to train 50-plus workers. The state also will launch a marketing campaign to increase awareness of older worker employment and encourage One-Stop Centers and other senior organizations to engage older workers in job training and re-training.
11. Promote workforce development and aging systems collaboration. The state will promote collaboration of the two systems by ensuring that Aging and Disabilities Resource Networks (ADRNs), led by Ohio's 12 area agencies on aging, have resources available for older adults seeking employment. Aging and workforce development organizations will develop memoranda of understanding to increase cross-system referrals and information sharing.
12. Designate a statewide organization to support older volunteers and volunteer organizations to promote and strengthen civic engagement.
The Ohio Community Service Council will be designated as a point of information and access for older persons and organizations engaged with volunteers. The state also will establish an ongoing "50 and better" volunteer advisory committee, co-led by the council and the Department of Aging, to promote collaboration among various systems.
13. Create systems for collecting data about the number of older volunteers and the opportunities available. The state will establish at least three criteria that will be used statewide to measure progress of efforts to increase older volunteerism: Ohio's ranking in overall volunteerism among older adults, as measured by a national index;
the total hours of documented volunteering by older adults; and the total types of job descriptions that are filled by volunteers, as reported by community- and faith-based organizations.
Read the council's full report of formal recommendations on the Department of Aging's website: www.aging.ohio.gov/services/seniorcivicengagementinitiative/
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