McDonald's is partnering with AARP to hire 250,000 older Americans

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McDonald'sAP, AARP

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/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

Senior citizens are joining the job force in record numbers, and McDonald's wants to help them get to work.

McDonald's is looking to hire 250,000 new employees to fill summer jobs, and they are welcoming candidates of all ages. The corporate chain announced Wednesday that it has started a new partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to recruit hires who are 55 and older.

McDonald's partnered with the AARP to hire people ages 55 and older for part-time summer work.Getty Images

"For the first time ever, five generations are now working together under the Arches. Together with our franchisees we have a responsibility to each generation to provide opportunity, flexibility and resources for wherever they are on their career journey,” Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s U.S. Chief People Officer, said in a statement.

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Open positions, which range from morning cooking shifts to managerial work, will be posted directly on AARP's Job Board. Anyone in the specified age demographic interested in joining a Mickey D's team can visit a local restaurant to see what opportunities are available.

The initiative also includes a pilot program involving AARP's Senior Community Service Employment Program and Back to Work 50+ program. The pilot, which aims to match both candidate and employer job needs throughout the hiring process, will first kickoff in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina, then roll out nationwide this summer.

Those who sign on for the summer season (which is 90 days) and work at least 15 hours a week will also qualify to participate in Archways to Opportunity, a program that gives McDonald's employees a chance to earn a high school diploma or continue their education with $2,500 tuition assistance — providing another incentive for older Americans with academic goals still on their bucket lists.

Having a roster of employees that includes everyone from young high schoolers to veteran staffers in their 90s, adds a "different perspective" in the work place, Kersey said, adding that it will hopefully encourage co-workers to learn from one another in valuable ways.

But making jobs available to seniors — an effort that has previously been put forth by other quick service chains like Starbucks — is not solely about age diversity. It's also, according to McDonald's, about filling an ever-growing need for Americans who either want to work after retirement or need to.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by 2024, nearly 25 percent of the workforce will made up of those 55-and-older — about 41 million Americans in total. This age group was ranked as the fastest growing category of workers, even above those joining the workforce for the first time.

The BLS attributes this to Americans living longer amid a shortage of jobs in a highly competitive, tight labor market, coupled with a necessity to supplement incomes and savings after retirement.

Whether early birds want to work because they love it or because they have to, McDonald's is ready for new applicants this week.