Starbucks is launching a program to improve the quality of life of older adults in Mexico. The coffee giant recently opened its first cafe in Mexico City, operated by 14 employees ages 50 and older.
Starbucks partnered with Mexico’s National Institute for Older Persons (INAPAM), a government welfare program, building on an employment agreement signed by the two parties in 2011 to offer job opportunities to seniors and improve their quality of life, Reuters reports.
Mexico’s population of older adults is growing at a rapid pace. A U.N. report on world population aging released last year indicated 10% of Mexico’s population is age 60 or older, owing to lower birthrates and longer lifespans. That figure is expected to reach 25% by 2050. Coupled with a lack of financial resources, many seniors in Mexico can find themselves in a state of financial distress.
Starbucks aims to hire 120 seniors in Mexico by the end of 2019.
The program may serve as inspiration for U.S. senior living providers, who are facing a staffing crisis. With tight labor markets, high turnover, and a caregiver shortage, workforce issues are routinely cited as the top business concern in the industry. As more millennials are entering the workforce, senior living companies have targeted this younger demographic, but the Starbucks program may be a reminder that the country’s massive population of aging boomers could be tapped for positions.
It is possible the success of the program may be duplicated elsewhere, including the U.S. Although Starbucks has no plans to launch similar initiatives, it could have a similar program in the U.S. without violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Littler labor attorney Angelo Spinola told Senior Housing News.
“The Supreme Court previously held in General Dynamics Land Systems Inc, v. Cline that the ADEA only protects individuals who are over 40 from being discriminated against in favor of younger individuals,” he said.
The population of seniors age 65 and older in the U.S. is expected to reach 78 million by 2035, according to the Census Bureau.
Written by Chuck Sudo