AARP AARP States Michigan Money

New partnership matches older workers with jobs

Paula Cunningham 2016

A powerhouse coalition has unveiled a new plan to match older worker talent with Michigan job openings.

AARP Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corp, Michigan Works!, and local chambers of commerce announced Experience for Hire, which is launching in four counties this summer – Wayne, Macomb, Ingham and Jackson.

Michigan employers report finding qualified applicants to fill job openings is their biggest challenge to business growth. Workers age 50 and older, who have unique skill sets, intend to stay in the workforce past traditional retirement age.

Demand, meet supply.

“Michigan has more than 100,000 unfilled jobs. Hiring experienced, older adults is an option many employers may not have considered,” said Paula Cunningham, State Director of AARP Michigan. " Experience for Hire is a unique collaborative that connects talent to jobs.”

Cunningham was on a panel that raised the curtain on Experience for Hire at the recent Mackinac Policy Conference. The other panelists were Chuck Hadden, CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, and Roger Curtis, Director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. Chris Holman, CEO and founder of the Michigan Business Network and President of AARP Michigan, was the moderator.

Hadden said Experience for Hire can be part of the solution to finding and developing the workforce talent that will fortify Michigan’s economic future.

“Solving the manufacturing jobs challenge is about more than just the economy of today, it's about securing Michigan's future as a jobs creator,” Hadden said. “The first state to step up and solve how businesses attract, train and retain talent will be the one to lead the industry into the next century of innovation."

Curtis said older workers can play a key role in strengthening the state economy.

“Just like there are many pathways for our young people to get the in-demand skills they need, there are many places our state’s employers can look for people with talent to fill important jobs. That includes our veterans and retirees,” Curtis said.

Experience for Hire will leverage the connections and capacities of the partner organizations to help employers in Wayne, Macomb, Ingham and Jackson counties to tap into the growing older adult workforce to find qualified workers for available positions.

The program will provide employers a convenient opportunity to interview a screened pool of applicants who would bring value to employers, require little job training, are open to a flexible schedule and, in many cases, are not seeking benefits beyond income.

Businesses that are members of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce are in need of qualified workers. AARP Michigan communicates with its members in these communities, and members say they are interested in opportunities for paid work. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Works! have the expertise to identify talent and address the gap between workers with the right skills and employers in need of those skills.

“We are presenting an exciting opportunity for more Michigan employers to realize the growing new potential that workers age 50 and over bring to the workforce and the economy,” Cunningham said. “Our ability to live longer, healthier, more productive lives is one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Aging is about growth.”

Employers can go to

The Experience for Hire link for job seekers is here:

Experience for Hire Job Seeker Instructions

Welcome to AARP Michigan
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.