Session of 2000
House Concurrent Resolution No. 5054
By Representative Myers
(By Request)

10             A  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing support for increased
11             funding and expansion of existing work training and retraining pro-
12             grams to provide work training and retraining services to older
13             Kansans.
16             WHEREAS,  An increasing number of older workers aged 45 to 64
17       have been losing their jobs in recent years through no fault of their own;
18       and
19             WHEREAS,  Despite the positive attributes they bring to the work
20       place, they are among the first to be laid off in downsizing or corporate
21       restructuring and they experience longer periods of unemployment, dis-
22       crimination in the hiring process and often receive inadequate job coun-
23       seling and placement services; and
24             WHEREAS,  Today's older workers have a considerable education def-
25       icit compared to their younger counterparts. About half did not complete
26       high school, and the education acquired at that time is outdated. Lacking
27       computer skills and the knowledge required for the modern job market,
28       they require careful assessment to determine their best skills and the most
29       suitable training or retraining programs to help them stay in the labor
30       force or re-enter it. Yet many government-sponsored programs have an
31       age cut-off of 35, or do not adequately address the needs of older learners;
32       and
33             WHEREAS,  The process of learning, work and retirement have now
34       melded into a continuous stream, each ebbing and flowing throughout
35       every worker's lifetime; and
36             WHEREAS,  Preparation for retirement throughout one's working life,
37       and the transition into retirement, whether abrupt or gradual, by choice
38       or not, are critical issues for both the individual and society. Older workers
39       who lose their jobs in their peak earning years will not be able to save
40       enough to live well for the last third of their lives. They won't have money
41       to spend, their health will deteriorate more rapidly, and they will be less
42       able to contribute to our communities; and
43             WHEREAS,  The nature of work has changed rapidly over the last
44       decade. Nonstandard forms of employment, part-time, contract and sea-


  1       sonal jobs, self-employment, etc., often with poor security, low wages and
  2       few or no benefits, have replaced many of the full-time positions workers
  3       used to hold throughout their careers; and
  4             WHEREAS,  With inadequate income, older workers often barely
  5       meet day-to-day needs, let alone invest in their future by saving for re-
  6       tirement, to replace pensions they may no longer receive; and
  7             WHEREAS,  The youth-dominated society of the last few decades will
  8       dramatically change in the future, as the United States Census Bureau
  9       estimates that senior citizens will account for up to a quarter of the pop-
10       ulation by the year 2031. Global competitiveness dictates our attention
11       to this demographic shift. The United States, and Kansas in particular,
12       cannot expect to maintain a trained and productive work force if it ignores
13       the needs of its older workers. As a result, programs designed to contin-
14       ually update the work skills of older Kansans are essential for a thriving
15       future economy; and
16             WHEREAS,  By taking into account the long-term impact of such pro-
17       grams, a cohesive set of social policy reforms can help Kansas become
18       the best possible place to live, work and grow older: Now, therefore,
19             Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas,
20       the Senate concurring therein: That the Kansas Legislature supports
21       increased financial support for job training and retraining programs de-
22       signed to serve older Kansans including: The Senior Citizens Community
23       Service Employment Program (SCCSEP) and the Older Kansan Em-
24       ployment Program (OKEP); and
25             Be it further resolved: That replacement funding for statewide pro-
26       grams should be developed; that statewide older worker training and em-
27       ployment services should be funded from the 15% state-level set aside;
28       that SCCSEP participants and other older workers should be included in
29       the definition of hard-to-serve populations, therefore preserving the op-
30       portunity for older Kansans to be served by training programs tailored to
31       meet their needs; and
32             Be it further resolved: That funds should be retained in the amount
33       of one-third from the 15% reserve of the Workforce Investment Act Dis-
34       cretionary Fund, and that these funds should be utilized to provide ad-
35       ditional opportunities for the development and funding of special services
36       for older workers; and
37             Be it further resolved: That existing workforce training and retraining
38       programs including, but not limited to the Kansas Industrial Training
39       (KIT) and Kansas Industrial Retraining (KIR) programs and State of Kan-
40       sas Investment in Lifelong Learning (SKILL) projects should be reviewed
41       to ensure that such programs are adequately designed and properly ad-
42       ministered to meet the needs of older Kansas workers.