Faculty Directory

Cal Halvorsen

Assistant Professor

Affiliate, Center on Aging & Work at Boston College


Cal J. Halvorsen, PhD, MSW, is an assistant professor at the Boston College School of Social Work, a project lead and investigator at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, and Well-being, an affiliate of the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, and a Senior Research Fellow at CoGenerate. His work examines aging societies, intergenerational initiatives, and the need and desire for people past midlife to work past traditional retirement age, with particular emphasis on self-employment, encore careers, low-income workers, and volunteering. His research and training have been funded by both public and private sources, including the U.S. Social Security Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Institutes of Health, AARP, and the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society. 

Cal has published op-eds in Fast Company, Forbes, and Next Avenue on later-life entrepreneurship and ageism. His expertise on older workers has also been featured in The New York Times regarding older entrepreneurs and freelancers, as well as The Washington Post, BBC, AARP, MarketWatch, and more. Due to his research and public scholarship, he received the Carroll L. Estes Rising Star Award from the Gerontological Society of America. 

Previously, he worked for six years at Encore.org (now called CoGenerate), later serving as the organization’s director of research and evaluation. Cal is a graduate of both the M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and earned his B.A. from the University of Iowa in his hometown of Iowa City.

Selected Grants

October ’23 – October ’27:

COST Action Proposal (European Cooperation in Science & Technology) to create the LeverAGE global network of scientists and practitioners focused on the multigenerational workforce. Role: Secondary Proposer (co-I equivalent). (Main Proposer: Justin Marcus, Koç University, Turkey).

September ’21 – May ’26:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health grant for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, and Well-Being. Projects included:

·      Older Workers’ Health and Well-Being Study. Role: PI.

·      Outreach Core. Role: PI.

·      Boston Hospital Workers’ Health Study. Role: Co-I. (PI: Erika Sabbath, Boston College).

·      Evaluation and Planning Core. Role: Co-I. (PI: Glorian Sorensen, Harvard).

June ’23 – December ’23:

AARP to write a translational report on the employment experiences of marginalized older workers and job seekers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Role: Co-PI. (Co-PI, Christina Matz, Boston College).

June '21 – May '23:

AmeriCorps Seniors emergency demonstration grant to evaluate the Intergenerational Vaccine Corps national and community service program. Role: Co-PI. (Co-PI: Jim Emerman, Encore.org).

Jan '21 – Dec '22:

RRF Foundation for Aging & Encore.org to evaluate the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship. Role: Evaluation Lead. (Program Lead: Eunice Lin Nichols, Encore.org).

June '21 – August '22:

Schiller Institute Grants for Exploratory Collaborative Scholarship to assess the Senior Community Service Employment Program’s influence on participant health and well-being. Role: PI. (Co-PIs: Elizabeth Howard, Karen Lyons, Christina Matz, and Sara Moorman, Boston College.)

Selected Media

Los Angeles Times: What we’re missing out on when we don’t have intergenerational relationships, personally and collectively (April 2023; cites the Cogeneration study, on which Cal served as the research advisor)

Next Avenue: Do different generations really want to collaborate to improve the world? (December 2022)

Elle: What it means to be an abuela in 2022 (September 2022; cites the Cogeneration study)

Yahoo! Money: Inflation is one reason some workers may retire later—if at all (August 2022)

New York Times: Making a new start in a business of their own (October 2020)

New York Times: When retirement savings run short, freelancing fills the gaps (September 2019)

BBC News: Why US firms are desperate to retain ageing workers (August 2019)

Selected Appointments & Awards

Jan ’22 – present: Appointed member, Public Policy Advisory Council, Gerontological Society of America

Dec’ 20 – present: Network Co-Lead, Grand Challenge to Advance Long and Productive Lives, American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare

Nov '20 – present: Senior Research Fellow, CoGenerate (formerly Encore.org)

April ’22: Illumination Award for teaching excellence, Boston College Division of Student Affairs

May '20: Carroll L. Estes Rising Star Award, Gerontological Society of America

Aug '18 – Aug '19: Encore Public Voices Fellowship, sponsored by the OpEd Project, Encore.org, and Ann MacDougall