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Employment Opportunities and Challenges for Lower-Income Older Adults: Opportunity & Mapping Analysis for Baltimore, MD MSA

Employment Opportunities and Challenges for Lower-Income Older Adults: Opportunity & Mapping Analysis for Baltimore, MD MSA
2011Opportunity Communities

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University (KI) was approached by Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI) in light of its agency directives to recruit older adults who are eligible for the SCSEP program (55 and over, total family income less than 125% of poverty, and legally eligible to work in the US), match them with public or local nonprofit organizations, refer them to other services that may be available in their community, and/or prepare them to be hired by local employers. SSAI leadership expressed an interest in identifying and improving service provision to the most disadvantaged seniors within the population they serve. SSAI was particularly interested in the potential applicability of Kirwan’s “Opportunity Mapping” analysis to shed light on the barriers to and opportunities for older adults’ employment prospects. Kirwan then reached out to the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University (CSW) to find potential faculty collaborators with expertise in serving older adults. KI and CSW then proceeded as an interdisciplinary research team on an economic opportunity map and analysis for low‐income seniors.

Three months after this project began, the KI/CSW team successfully submitted another proposal to SSAI to further explore data and literature regarding the employment of older adults. Rather than proceed as two separate projects, SSAI and the KI/CSW team rolled both projects into this comprehensive research report, which includes the following: a concept paper led by College of Social Work faculty members Anderson and Richardson providing a comprehensive overview of the intersection of age, race, disability, and social engagement for older adults in urban and rural environments (Appendix B); a list of opportunity indicators that reflect economic opportunity for lowincome older adults in an urbanized metro region (for this exercise, the map is of the Baltimore, MD region) (Appendix C); a comprehensive economic opportunity map for low‐income older adults in the Baltimore, MD region, based upon the indicators drawn from the CSW research; regional map overlays of populations of interest to SCSCEP program goals (populations by race, poverty, disability, etc.) and corresponding data findings, including measures of rural vulnerability; a discussion of mapping, data and research implications for SSAI’s SCEP program, i.e. key areas of needed new research and practice opportunities to better connect older adults with service, volunteer, and labor opportunities.