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National Senior Citizens Day

Friday, August 21, is National Senior Citizens Day, a holiday created in 1989 by President Ronald Reagan to recognize and appreciate the dedication, accomplishments and services that senior citizens have given throughout their life. One of the areas where people can show this appreciation, outside of their family, is in the workplace.

Numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that between 2012 and 2050, the population of Americans over the age of 65 could grow by more than 94 percent, due to the aging population of baby boomers. This will of course lead to a larger number of older Americans working, meaning that intergenerational workplaces will only continue to become more commonplace. Trade professions are one of the career paths where people from all generations are consistently working together, given that people can typically start these careers at a younger ago and stick with them until retirement.

One of the best parts of having intergenerational workplaces, especially with regard to trade professions, is the knowledge that can be shared between generations. While younger generations may be more knowledgeable about the most recent and modern technology, older generations often know tried and true tips and tricks that can make jobs quicker and easier. A 2017 survey by Klein Tools showed that 46 percent of electricians had voluntarily trained or mentored apprentices or students in the last year.  This passing down of knowledge between generations is what makes a successful workplace, and is one main reasons intergenerational workplaces can be so beneficial.

The problem in most trades is that the rigors of such physical careers can force workers into retirement at the suggested age of 65 or earlier. This means that while the general trend is for the older population to keep working past 65, the trades see the loss of experienced workers at a higher rate than other less strenuous professions. The danger with this, of course, ties back into the bigger issue of the skills gap, an ongoing issue where trade professionals are leaving the industry faster than they are being replaced by new workers. This is why it is so important to appreciate the older generation of trade professionals and take advantage of their mentoring now, as they may not be active in the trade as long as people in other fields.

What have you learned from the generation before you? What knowledge do you hope to pass onto the generation that will come after you? Let us know in the comments on social media!

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