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Sloan Center News

Thought Leadership for States

states as employers-of-choice project presents to strategy leaders in washington, dc

14 September 2009—The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, and the Twiga Foundation's States as Employers-of-Choice Project participate in a one-day “Discussion for Thought Leaders” at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC as part of the Sloan Center on Aging & Work Strategy Council’s update and planning meeting.

Center Executive Director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes and Michelle Wong, Research Associate for the Center, presented the research highlights from the 2008 States as Employers-of-Choice Survey, which compared employee demographics in the private sector to the public sector. The survey focused on demographics of state governments to determine if strategies are in place or need to be developed to prepare for the aging of baby boomers. Findings have been published in three Center Issue Briefs highlighting flexible work options, comparing priorities in the public and private sectors, and attitudes toward workers of different career stages.

Results showed that the public sector workforce has 11.3% more of the workforce eligible for retirement in the next 10 years when compared to the private sector. Also, state agencies were more likely to have analyzed their workforce demographics than private sector organizations surveyed (69.9% vs. 42.2%, respectively). However, state agencies were found to lag behind the private sector in providing flexibility across all career stages.

In addition to a discussion of overall findings, Twiga Foundation Director Patricia Kempthorne and States as Employers-of-Choice Project Manager Bob Davis presented a summary of project activities this past year. Patricia and Bob presented individual state survey results during 10 state project visits. Meetings were geared toward strategizing how workplace flexibility can help state agencies compete with the private sector in the recruitment and retention of trained and skilled workers.

Human resource managers from four states were invited to Washington, DC to report their states' flexibility practices in the workplace and strategies for dealing with an aging public sector workforce. Presenters included:

  • Karen Hutchins, Director of Personnel, New Hampshire
  • Ross Tripp, OPM Workforce Planning Manager, Oklahoma
  • Carolyn Wright, Work/Life Programs Manager, Arizona
  • Holly Grandy-Miller, Director of Organizational Development, State of Michigan

The Sloan Center on Aging & Work has been a partner with the Twiga Foundation on the States as Employers-of-Choice project and chose to highlight this project at the Annual Meeting of the Strategies Council as background for a discussion on future projects with state governments. Also attending the meeting were representatives from numerous groups, including Partners for Public Service, CLASP, National Conference of State Legislatures, Women in Government, National Council on Independent Living, National Older Worker Career Center, Empire State University Center for Labor Studies, Institue for Workplace Innovation at the University of Kentucky, and WorldatWork. Representatives from the offices of Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho and Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who co-chair the bi-partisan Workplace Flexibility Senate Study Group, also attended the session.