Organizational collaborations can accomplish many things. Cross promotion is the most common goal, and we’ve seen a number of brands enter partnerships to enhance reward offerings. Now, we’re seeing an effort to expand employment through collaboration.
McDonald’s USA is leaning into the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, those 50 and older, through a collaboration with AARP and AARP Foundation. This investment comes as McDonald’s and its independent franchisees ready themselves to hire roughly 250,000 people for the summer months. From morning shifts to management roles, AARP and AARP Foundation will help connect McDonald’s to a growing yet underutilized workforce.
“For the first time ever, five generations are now working together under the Arches,” says Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s US Chief People Officer. “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. Thanks, in part, to our new collaboration with AARP and AARP Foundation we’re looking to position McDonald’s as a place where people at every stage of working life can see themselves grow and thrive while bringing stability and a different perspective that everyone can learn from.”
The collaboration with AARP and AARP Foundation includes:

  • Job Postings Featured on AARP’s Job Board: McDonald’s current US restaurant job postings will be featured on AARP’s job board, which only includes employers who are committed to an age-diverse workforce and looking for experienced talent. Job seekers can visit AARP’s job board to learn more and apply to a restaurant near them.


  • Pilot Program to Ensure Jobs are a Match for Candidate and Employer: McDonald’s USA will pilot a program to align employer and candidate job needs and interests by leveraging AARP Foundation’s Senior Community Service Employment Program and Back to Work 50+ workforce development programs. This process will help McDonald’s and its independent franchisees, who opt into the program, hire a multi-generational workforce for their restaurants, enabling older Americans access to the educational and career benefits available to McDonald’s employees as they re-enter the workforce. The pilot will start in five states (Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina) before rolling out nationwide later this summer.

“We’re thrilled that McDonald’s has signed AARP’s Employer Pledge,” says Susan Weinstock, AARP Vice President for Financial Resilience. “We know that employees and employers across all industries succeed when they remain committed in words and in action to hiring and maintaining an age diverse workforce. Integrating these workers with their younger staff can often bring unexpected benefits including two-way mentoring which supports growth for all. Our work with McDonald’s is a true first-of-its-kind for the QSR industry and we hope others follow.”
In addition, McDonald’s provides a signature education and career advising program, Archways to Opportunity. Eligible after 90 days—or the equivalent of a summer job—and 15 hours a week, employees at participating US restaurants have the chance to earn a high school diploma, receive $2,500 in upfront college tuition assistance, access to free education and career advising services, and the opportunity to learn English as a second language. To date, McDonald’s has given out over $58 million dollars in tuition assistance and helped 38,500 restaurant workers, like 63-year old Bonita Guesman, achieve their educational aspirations.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has identified the 55-and-older population as the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, projecting that 41 million older Americans will represent 24.8 percent of the civilian workforce by 2024. This shift is occurring due to two powerful trends: a labor shortage amid the tightest US labor market in nearly 50 years, and the tendency for longer-living Americans to keep working—even part-time—to supplement insufficient retirement savings. In addition, the food and beverage labor force is projected to grow by 14 percent between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, also according to the BLS.
“Considering the labor trends for both the 50+ workforce and the growth of the QSR industry, McDonald’s leadership in this area is occurring an opportune time,” says Ron Painter, President, National Association of Workforce Boards. “People all over the country are facing challenges that are driving them back into the workforce and we need to connect them with employers that provide respect, dignity, and opportunities for advancement and connection. It’s encouraging to see McDonald’s stepping up to the challenge.”

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