Abstract: Factors contributing satisfaction of work and job training among older Asian workers (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

11788 Factors contributing satisfaction of work and job training among older Asian workers

Sunday, January 17, 2010: 11:15 AM
Pacific Concourse O (Hyatt Regency)
* noted as presenting author
Eun Jeong Lee, MPA , National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, Director of LA Center, Ph.D. in Social Welfare, Arcadia, CA
Purpose: In the next few years, older workers will constitute a higher proportion of working population. Increasing numbers of older worker can be explained by several reasons. People are living longer than ever before, and the amended Social Security Act have encouraged delayed retirement. In addition, most people in the U.S. previously considered retirement as a complete withdrawal from full-time work, but some older workers now want to reenter the labor market with part-time employment. However, older workers have been insufficiently studied in social work. The concerns of older workers are very important given that the age of individuals in the labor market is increasing. Therefore, the research question in this study is what factors are related to the satisfaction of work environment and job training among older Asian workers. The author indentifies the factors such as training conditions, interpersonal relationships, job readiness, and demographic characteristics.

Methods: With the survey research method, the data was collected from SCSEP, which is the federally-funded job training program for people ages 55 years and above, whose incomes fall at or below 125 percent of poverty guidelines. SCSEP provides individualized job training based on the goals and desired job of each participant through work experiences in a real work environment. Therefore, SCSEP is a good place to look at the needs of older Asian workers, who want to reenter the U.S. labor market. A total of 148 SCSEP participants in two cities, New York City and Los Angeles, participated in this study. The program satisfaction was the dependent variable and was compiled from five items using the Likert-scale. The Cronbach's alpha for the items of program satisfaction was 0.799. Bivariate analyses were conducted to test hypotheses, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) multiple regression analysis was used with two models of predictor groups. The first model in OLS was participants' demographic variables, and the second model added training components.

Results: The results show that program satisfaction was associated with the degree of match between assigned and desired trainings, the degree of new skills learned, relationship with supervisors and coworkers, and job readiness and English fluency. The use of participants' primary language in training sites and employment barriers are not statistically significant. Among demographic factors, age and gender are statistically supported. In OLS, this study identifies that factors directly related to job training and work components have more impact on program satisfaction than participants' demographic characteristics.

Implications: The roles of occupational social workers are found in various job training settings. The intervention by occupational social work was limited to apply to employees at workplaces, but it should be expanded to people who are unemployed and want to re-enter the workforce. This study offers insights about the appropriate job training and needs identified by older Asian workers and how work environment may promote older workers' satisfaction. Therefore, this is important for occupational social workers in advocating and supporting older workers' needs and for employers and organizations in successfully recruiting and retaining older workers in the labor market.