Connect Education + Labor Demand #Connecttheages

This is a DRAFT of potential policy areas to build innovations, new models and a workforce for aging Americans and families. It will be updated multiple times per week. Please send comments and concerns to


50% of Boomers have saved less than $100,000 for retirement

Generations of young taxpayers will be left to pickup the tab of longevity

Like Japan, China, and Europe, the dreams and talents of young people will be drained into care for our aging

yet, supplying the labor demand of AGING AMERICANS can BE OUR GREATEST ASSET

American students and young professionals can fulfill the 3 million new and multidisciplinary jobs in aging to fill 2 million existing positions over 8 years. Careers in aging are the most important careers in our country, yet young people do not have geron-related professions on their radars because education is out of touch with labor demand.

  • Only 5% of Nurses choose long-term care
  • Geriatric Healthcare Providers don't make enough to break even on student debt
  • Gerontechnologists and Scientists are fighting regulations
  • Investors and Private Equity see the opportunity but are wary of regulations and reimbursements tied to business models
  • Architects and Developers design for youth
  • Infrastructure and Transportation for older people is inadequate
  • Elder Financial Fraud is not typically in the syllabi of law school classrooms

Millennials can realize the value in aging and pursue multidisciplinary work in this field. Jobs serving an aging population encompass characteristics important to younger generations: impact, collaboration, creativity, multidimensional, and decades of career growth opportunities. Investing in education and workforce opportunities in aging can help maintain the base of assets to carry us into the future, not just relieving burdens on our children, but creating opportunity.

Rising global demand makes importing talent unsustainable

Most Millennials do not know that careers in aging exist

Policy to Connect Workforce Demand and Education Opportunities

Public Student Loan Forgiveness: Careers in Aging

Expand the PSLF to include multidisciplinary careers in aging to encourage individuals to enter and continue in careers in aging. Reauthorization is pending for PSLF in 2017. PSLF currently and includes forgiveness for Federal Direct Loans when employed full-time by federal, state, local, or tribal government, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or other public service non-profit that meets IRS requirements, or with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. Other student loan forgiveness programs to consider are the Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness Program and Loan Forgiveness & Service Scholarship Programs in Medicine.

  • Over 42 million Americans owe $1.3 trillion in total Student Loan Debt, 10% of all debt in the United States. Millions of Americans are not paying these loans on time or at all with a financial burden of almost $300 billion.
  • Millennials, although more educated, are underemployed compared young adults in the 1980s. This cohort comprises of the majority of our workforce and can be inspired to pursue the 5 million under-marketed and unknown careers in aging over 8 years if it is connected to their overwhelming student loans.
  • Millennials have an average credit score in the "Poor" to "Fair" ranges because 65% of credit scores are calculated by amount owed and payment history. Under current FHA guidelines, a majority of this cohort is unable to purchase homes as Baby Boomers will need to downsize and use their home equity to pay for retirement.
  • Unfortunately, as labor demand grows, the 2016 Older Americans Act repealed funding for multidisciplinary centers of gerontology, the opposite of demand and need. Without a workforce, we can create all of the innovation in the world but it will be ineffective.

Expanding the PSLF to include federal student loan borrowers who pursue multidisciplinary careers in aging has the potential to have multifaceted systemic benefits. Problems including personal financial responsibility of our youth, avoiding default on hundreds of billions of student loans debt, avoiding a future housing crisis, and creating millions American jobs are addressable in one move.

Community Service Federal Work-Study

Create opportunities to connect Federal Work-Study Community Service (7% mandate for all FWS programs) with opportunities for students to work with older adults, benefitting communities and potentially peaking interest in students pursuing millions of available careers in aging. FWS is a powerful educational, career-preparation, and community service internship program that can inspire young people to consider careers in aging early by getting them one-on-one experience working with older adults.

  • In 2006, FWS supported the community service work of 128,000 college students. The benefits of connecting even tens of thousands of college students to career opportunities in aging per year would be immense to our workforce and career development in aging.
  • This program enables students to connect academics to the real-world, work with diverse individuals (including older individuals), and experience different career opportunities while and building career references.
  • Tens of thousands of FWS students per year serve as tutors for youth under America Cares and America Counts. This is paid for by 100% by FWS in an effort to increase competency in math and reading. Creating a similar initiative in serving older adults in the community can reduce healthcare Medicare and Medicaid spend by supporting independence and identifying problems before a health incident. It can also teach important soft skills that many young people are now missing.

Volunteering and entry level positions with older adults is also how many people found their passion and talents in aging. FWS is the first job of many student, providing these benefits while also helping to define and build career goals.

Legacy Corps: Connect the Ages

A Legacy Corps will enable students to gain experience and learn industrial knowledge from older adults while supporting the independence of our aging Americans and Veterans. Serving those who have given younger people the opportunities to pursue their dreams will also enable young people who have a passion for aging to find it earlier while bridging the skills gap, connecting young people to meaningful community service, and bridging the digital divide among older generations.

  • Over 90% of older Americans prefer to live in their homes, yet overwhelmed adult children sometimes upheave our aging population before necessary, costing a great deal of money and forcing older Americans to give up their American Dreams. Maintaining independence in one’s home contributes to more positive outcomes and cost savings.
  • Within the next 10 years, almost 2 million new and replacement direct care jobs (caregiving, home care, nursing assistants) will come online with short supply. Most folks don't need medical assistance but rather assistance with instrumental activities of daily living that are essential to maintaining independence and bend the Medicare and Medicaid cost curves.
  • Legacy Corps can help meet immediate need of aging Americans. Particular emphasis should be placed on young people interested in careers in STEM, design, healthcare and social sciences. Aging touches every aspect of life and every industry. Regardless of career after participation a knowledge of the challenges and opportunities presented by an aging population will be important for the career development of young people.
  • Many students are taking gap years because they are unsure of the educational and career aspirations and are weary of taking on debt without a clear plan. Connecting to older adults who have institutional knowledge of areas of interest can also help students understand their choices and job potential. The Legacy Corps enables our youth to provide mutually beneficial service to those whose shoulders they stand upon and who fought for their freedom.

Create an avenue for Allowable Activities within legislation coming online for reauthorization or an Executive Order for multiple pilot sites representative of America's changing landscape. Focusing on an age heavy population will impart the patriotism, spirit, and work ethics of our Greatest Generation to younger Americans. Beyond jobs, connecting to our aging population teaches young people many soft skills and values such as compassion, confidence, discipline, ethics, etiquette, integrity, reliability, respect, teamwork and vision.

Career and Technical Education - Bridge the Skills Gap

Expand Interdisciplinary Skills Gap to serve an aging America in Career in Technical Education. Federally Funded Institutions have an opportunity to bridge local demographic and labor demand to coursework and areas of expertise. 30% of the 5 million jobs available over the next 8 years in aging will be professional caregivers (direct care workers, nursing aides, home aides).

  • Our country's obsession with youth and perception that an undergraduate degree is required to be considered a success has created a massive skills gap. Although professional caregiving is one of the most important health-related jobs of our time, those who pursue professional caregiving are not valued. These underappreciated and undervalued workers also have a high turnover rate of 50-100%, annually, making it virtually impossible to keep up with demand as we move from a 7:1 caregiver ratio to a 3:1 ratio by 2030.
  • The Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and the Department of Labor have much to gain by understanding and pursuing the demand of Careers in Aging. Many believe that self-driving cars and robots are the answer, but innovations such as these will not solve the basic needs that Americans and Veterans experience in old age. It does not matter what amazing technologies we develop in the private sector if we do not fulfill the labor demand of direct caregivers.
  • These direct care workers also have the capacity to reduce the likelihood of preventable and deadly medical emergencies. Preventing falls, building appropriate sleep patterns, monitoring medication compliance, and help with hygiene, nutrition and hydration are essential activities of daily living tasks that can prevent hundreds of billions of Medicare and Medicaid spend.

Professional Caregiving is the fastest growing career in our country, yet receives little to no attention in national discussions. The general reaction in the world of aging is to import talent, but we will pay a high price to compete with global demand. A job in caregiving is also gateway experiences that connect people to their passion and career development in aging.

Innovations in Aging: Connect Students and Innovators

Researchers and talented entrepreneurs are unaware of opportunities in aging and investors are timid to enter the market because of unstable reimbursements and regulations. To support our shifting demographics, we cannot continue to depend on happenstance and benevolence because only 2% of foundation dollars go to aging-related issues.

  • NIH Grants focusing on aging related innovations and research. The NIH's National Institute on Aging's focus on Alzheimer's treatments and cures is a grand and bold challenge. It does, however negate other multifaceted health problems in aging. For example, falls account for over $30 billion in health care spend and too frequently cause the death of Aging Americans. Most falls can be prevented. There are also many other preventative measures to greatly reduce Medicare and Medicaid spend, including nutrition, hydration, medication compliance, movement, and socialization. It would behoove NIH, NIA, CMMS, and the VA to pursue these cost savings that will also greatly enhance quality of life and enable independence as long as possible.
  • Create SBIR and Small Business incentives for small business owners and entrepreneurs to build creative and market-based solutions for aging Americans. Some fund are specific to aging, but they are a drop in the ocean, usually with a max of $40 million in funding available and almost always focusing on Series B, not where funding is most needed in the beginning in seed and Series A stage companies.
  • Connect STEM funding and challenges to innovations for older Americans. Young people have created some of the most compelling technologies to benefit the lives and bend cost curves in health, but don't generally have this problem on their radars unless they live with an older relative. Young people have the potential to solve most of the innovation gaps in aging if they are aware and incentivized.

We need to build the innovations needed to serve 75 million aging Baby Boomers. For too long innovations in aging have been bottlenecked in regulatory issues and not been given fair incentive for the value produced in creating innovations for aging Americans. We have an opportunity to course correct and build the innovations needed today and tomorrow for our grandparents and our Veterans.

Caregiving, Health, Housing, Infrastructure, & Tax Policy Considerations

Eldercare & Family Caregivers: The Workplace

50% of Employees will care for loved ones over next five years, costing both the employee family caregiver and employers. The Weighs and Means Committee has an opportunity to study and understand what a tax incentive for employers to support employees who are also family caregivers (FCG). It is important to understand the cost benefit analysis for both American businesses and for American families.

  • "For women, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $142,693. The estimated impact of caregiving on lost Social Security benefits is $131,351. A very conservative estimated impact on pensions is approximately $50,000. Thus, in total, the cost impact of caregiving on the individual female caregiver in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals $324,044." MetLife Mature Market Institute (2011) The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Caregivers
  • "Some estimates suggest that the cost to U.S. businesses due to caregiving may exceed $29 to $33 billion per year, but these estimates should be viewed cautiously as they are based on old data and the studies make debatable assumptions in carrying out their analysis (MetLife Mature Market Institute and NAC, 1997, 2006). Reliable data on the impact of eldercare on U.S. businesses are currently not available." MetLife Mature Market Institute (2006) The MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business

The RAISE Act legislation also has an opportunity to add a pilot to study the motivation and outcomes of different workplace caregiver support programs. Deloitte and Duke University have interesting programs. One might also consider the value of an employee's time (most FCG are at the peak of their careers and in management roles) vs. the cost of care by professional.

Connect Old and Young in Education, Living, and Mentorship

Older adults in challenged socioeconomic areas can help reduce likelihood of substance abuse and teen pregnancies while improving behaviors and likelihood of continuing on with education, helping to break the cycles of poverty and violence. Older adults who are connected to young people are more proactive with their self-care and are less isolated, which is more detrimental to our older Americans than smoking a pack of cigarettes daily.

  • Older Americans are our most underutilized resource and we have an opportunity to bring them into Classrooms to help fundamental skills in K-12. Older adults can also be connected to their expertise in STEM and Industrial Knowledge in post secondary education.
  • Give priority to HUD and community programs that connect old and young. When teens in low socioeconomic neighborhoods have an older adult in their lives, they less likely to participate in risky and dangerous behaviours. For older adults, having a young person in their lives enhances their personal care and responsibility for themselves, reduces pain and depression, and lowers Medicare spending while also enhancing quality of life. Dr. Ben Carson had the fortune of having a strong mentor during his upbringing.
  • Connect retired first responders to youth in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Older adults are our most wasted resource and retired first responders understand how to connect to and navigate these communities. It is relationships and support of mentors that gives children born into a difficult situation the courage and direction to explore talents and address weaknesses.

Mentors gift a macro perspective of life, and having an older adult in the life of at risk youth has the capacity to benefit the behavior, education achievements, and socioeconomic outcomes of these young people.


Careers in aging are multidisciplinary and offer steady growth

Give 5 million young people opportunities to embark on careers of growth

In Federal Direct Student Loans, totalling almost $1 Trillion

Protect the real estate market and retirement plans

71% of non-homeowners cite student loan debt as the factor delaying them from buying a home

PILOTS SHOW millennials will PURSUE AGING, but unaware of opportunity


Entrepreneur Millennial in aging guest lecturing in core and general undergraduate courses to learn if students know about volunteer and career opportunities in aging. The outreach with high school, university, and young entrepreneurs showed that once they are aware of the opportunities in aging, they are interested in connecting to older adults.

Guest lecturing in general undergraduate courses used the below survey. Prelecture results showed that participants were probably not interested in volunteering with older adults and did not believe they would want to work with older adults. After 30 minutes of discussing opportunities in aging, most students moved from a 1 and 2 in volunteering with older adults to a 3 and 4. Interest in careers in aging moved from a 1 to a 2 on average.

This shows that volunteering with older adults is an appropriate route to first introduce young people to opportunities in aging.

  1. What is your dream job?
  2. How likely are you to volunteer with older adults? scale of 1-4: (1)definitely not, (2)probably not, (3)probably yes, (4)definitely yes
  3. How likely are you to pursue work with older adults? scale of 1-4: (1)definitely not, (2)probably not, (3)probably yes, (4)definitely yes


Partnership with Fairview High School NHS students and residents at The Academy with a special thank you to David Pelcyger and Heidi Wagner.
  • 12 Students, 5 Residents, 3 Sessions
  • More students signed up than space available for pilot
  • Students were attended school with high suicide rate and wanted to learn about failure and life values
  • Residents wanted to contribute to younger generation and engage with community
  • Students and residents independently connected after pilot
  • Most students didn't actually need National Honors Society volunteer hours (only 2 did)
  • Residents gained an appreciation of communication with youth, new tools and desire to try harder with their own grandchildren, and technology skills
  • Students also taught residents about technology and how to communicate with their families, and gained important industry knowledge


Filmed in collaboration with LeadingAge and the Gerontological Society of America
  • Filmed Interdisciplinary Professionals & Students in Aging to Learn the Why behind their Passion and Career Aspirations in Aging
  • Shared concern about impending workforce shortage crisis (within a few years) and enforce urgency to create awareness and opportunities
  • 6 Days, 50+ Interviews, Dozens of Cultures, Ages 19-70s
  • Multidisciplinary interviewees ranged from students in public health and nursing to operators, lenders, and architects of housing
  • Themes: Intergenerational, Mentorship, Grandparents, Passion, Innovation, Impact, Fulfillment, Career Growth, Contribution, Purpose, Wisdom
  • The majority of interviewees did not start their careers in aging, but found their way there by happenstance

The time is now to connect 5 million Millennials to jobs in aging over 8 years

How will you connect the ages?

Created By
Amanda Cavaleri


A special thank you to Reid Estreicher of Samsung, Joel Mendes of JLL, Bob Kramer of National Investment Center, Katie Sloan of Leading Age, and James Appleby of the Gerontological Society of America

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