Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 2020 Gerontological Society of America Pre-conference Workshop

Sponsored by the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work
Boston College 

Introduction

Over the last two decades, the phrase “aging and work” has evolved from its status as an oxymoron to a well-understood reality. It is now a clearly-recognized fact that the 3-legged stool of retirement security (employer-sponsored pensions, government pensions e.g. Social Security in the U.S., and individual savings) is rickety at best. More people need to work beyond conventional retirement ages in order to sustain financial security in the face of longer lives and growing expenses. This need is paramount for older adults in general, but even greater for low-income, racial and ethnic minority, and blue-collar older workers, here after referred to as under-represented minorities (URM). While perceived and/or real age discrimination has been identified as a factor limiting options for older adults, less is known about factors that mitigate against such perceptions of unfairness and injustice.

Thus, we invite proposals, for a pre-conference workshop, that focus on the experiences of URM workers and workplace policies and practices that enhance the prospects of justice and inclusion for older workers, especially issues faced by certain vulnerable, marginalized groups of older adults. Selected proposals will be used to generate a coherent workshop agenda that will be submitted for consideration by GSA.

This RFP from the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work aims to:

  • identify the challenges among underrepresented older workers (e.g., low-income, racial and ethnic minority, and blue-collar older workers) in their efforts to obtain or retain employment
  • identify strategies for overcoming those challenges for people who either want to or need to work in later life

Thus, we invite four kinds of proposals from members of the network:

  1. Analyses of existing data (qualitative or quantitative) that shed light on strategies for increasing the sense of justice and inclusion in the workplace;
  2. New measures that assess employers’ and/or employees’ perception of justice and inclusion;
  3. Small-scale pilot intervention studies testing policies and practices that are believed to enhance a sense of inclusion and justice but are as yet empirically untested and;
  4. Projects that are on the planning table for a “fishbowl session” that might benefit from feedback and critique from Network members and others interested in older workers in the changing context of work.

In general, our objective is to continue to build the growing coalition of scholars from a variety of perspectives whose goal is to make longer life a better life, especially for those who need to and want to continue working past conventional retirement ages.

Outcomes

This RFP represents Part II of a three-part collaborative research effort on equity, inclusion and justice for older workers conducted by the network in collaboration with Professor Lisa Berkman, network member and Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies at the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Part I was the Fall Research Institute at Harvard University, September 26-27, 2019. There, network members presented ideas, shared data sources, refined proposals, and built coherence among working papers. Part II is developing a preconference workshop for GSA, 2020. Part III will be a publication effort, to be determined after the workshop.

Responding to the RFP

If you are interested in responding to this RFP, please submit a brief abstract or description (no more than 250 words) on your topic area, its importance to research on aging and work, how it fits with the theme of the workshop, and what kind of paper it might be, whether theoretical or empirical. If it is an empirical paper, please let us know your data sources.

Deadline for Submission

Interested participants should submit proposals to jamesjc@bc.edu and kjason@uncc.edu by February 15, 2020. Invited participants will be notified by August 1.