By Patricia Rascon, Southwestern Regional Compliance Manager
What is ADEA and how does it potentially benefit our construction industry? ADEA is the acronym for the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. By crushing the stereotypes that prevent companies from recognizing the variety of strengths they currently have, such as wisdom, experience and reliability, older workers can be part of the solution to ease the skilled worker shortage the construction industry.
Fifty years ago, with the enactment of ADEA, it-opened opportunities for older workers by disallowing most age limits and the requirement of equal treatment of workers without regard to age. Victoria A. Lipnic, Acting Chair for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wrote, “The ADEA is based on the principal that ability matters-not age. No one should be denied a job or should lose a job based on the assumptions of stereotypes. Age is just a number. It doesn’t define one’s ability, potential or value. That is the purpose and promise of the ADEA.”
Fast forward to November 2016, and in the publication of Engineering News-Record (ENR), there was a call-to-action for more mentoring in the construction industry. The caption, “Eat lunch where you don’t belong”, suggested that one should immerse him or her self into the company with something as simple as eating lunch with their colleagues, talking shop with them and learning about what they do. With the workforce still comprised of older workers, companies and apprentices alike can take advantage of the mentor/mentee relationship opportunities.
As a twenty-year member with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), I have benefited from many opportunities to tap into the experiences of those who came before me. I have not only gained more knowledge about the construction industry, I continue to make life long friends who continue to share their knowledge with me. Mentoring comes in many forms, and the benefits are many. Building relationships are key and I believe we should pay it forward. I challenge you to reflect on how you started your career, your successes and failures and think about how YOU can reinvest and pave the way for someone else.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”