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Sloan Center News

Center on Aging & Work Receives $3.5 Million from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

18 June 2008—The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College has received its second major grant $3.5 Million the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced Wednesday. The grant ensures the next three years of work at the Center and confirms the success of the Ccenter’s employer and academic engagement strategy. The Center has been widely recognized as one of the few university-based research centers studying aging and work that have been successful in traversing the two worlds of the workplace and academia. 

Our dual impact agenda has allowed us to develop on-going relationships with employers, and has made it possible for the Center to receive their guidance and input,explains Center Director and GSSW Associate Professor Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes. Our employer-engaged research offers a unique and important approach to organizational studies that can have impact on human resource practice, and gives us credibility with the media, policy-makers, and business leaders.

Established in 2005 the Center has focused on three primary issues: the aging of the U.S. workforce, the employment preferences of older workers including their desire for flexible work options, and employer responses to these emerging trends. With the new grant, the Center will leverage its extensive network of workplace managers and scholars to gain new insights about the employment experiences of the 21st century multi-generational workforce

Today’s universities are in need of innovative research centers that anticipate socio-economic trends, develop policies based on sound evidence, leverage interdisciplinary collaborations, and are capable of building bridges between academia and the world of work,says GSSW Dean Alberto Godenzi. Boston College is extremely lucky to have in Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes a leader with a distinct reputation among colleagues, sponsors, and the business community. Her entrepreneurial and global perspective is essential to advance the Center’s mission during this second funding cycle.

The Center’s leadership model will include the establishment of a Resident Executive position and a Resident Senior Researcher. The Center has invited Peter Ireland, Murray and Monti Professor in Economics at Boston College, to be the Center’s first Resident Senior Researcher. This fall the Center will form a steering committee to assist with the identification of the inaugural Resident Executive.

Several other leading scholars from Boston College will also assume major leadership roles at the center. Dr. Monique Valcour (CSOM) will contribute to the management of the projects in the Center’s Workplace Flexibility Initiatives. This research stream will continue to examine, among other things, the quality of employment at contemporary workplaces and the impact that shifts in the age composition of the workforce have on employees and on employers’ efforts to recruit, engage, and retain today’s multi-generational workforce. In addition, Dr. Joseph Quinn (Economics) will be leading analyses on retirement patterns, expectations and outcomes among older workers.

The centerpiece of the new grant, though, will be within the Center’s Global Initiatives. This summer the research team will embark on a series of cross-national comparative studies, putting the center’s work in the global perspectives of today’s talent management while encouraging workplace adoption of quality employment for the global multi-generational workforce. In addition, the Center will begin recruitment for the Generations of Talent study, which Dr. Natasha Sarkisian (Sociology, recipient of the Kanter Award in 2005) will co-lead. This study will examine employee access to workplace resources and opportunities, documenting outcomes for employees and their organizations.