“AGE IS OPPORTUNITY NO LESS THAN YOUTH ITSELF”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Compared to New York State and the entire United States, Westchester County has a significantly high percentage of older adults. The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that while 13% of the national population was 65 and older, 14.7% of the population of Westchester was 65 and older. Additionally, 1.8% of the national population was 85 and older, whereas 2.4% of the population of Westchester was 85 and older. A 2005 study by the Administration on Aging estimated that by 2030, the percent of the population 85 and older nationally will reach 2.6%, and in New York State to climb to 3.2%. If current trends continue, it is likely that the population of adults 85 and older in Westchester County will exceed both the state and national percentages.
Due to the growth in the number of older adults, Westchester County faces a workforce crisis in aging services. To address this shift,
institutions of higher education have the opportunity to adjust their curricula to address immediate and anticipated population wants and needs.
In 2004, Mary Ann Quaranta, Dean of the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, and Colette Phipps of the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, launched the Westchester Alliance of Academic Institutions for Aging Related Studies and Workforce Development (The Westchester Alliance). Since then, representatives from colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, government, and businesses have come together to help colleges and universities offer their students exposure to careers that address the growing demand for services, particularly among the frail elderly.
The Westchester Alliance also encourages schools to expand aging-related content in their curricula in order to prepare students to pursue careers in the field of aging. In 2006 Fordham’s Ravazzin Center on Aging conducted a survey of student participants in a Westchester Alliance project. 40% reported an increased interest in the field of aging, confirming that The Westchester Alliance is on the right track.
The Westchester Alliance has received funding support from the Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services, The Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation.
On this website are examples of past and current projects, awards, current references and upcoming events. If you have questions or comments, please direct an email to Catherine Wynkoop.
Founding Chair: Mary Ann Quaranta, DSW, Dean Fordham University School of Social Work
Commissioner: Mae Carpenter, MS, Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services
Director: Colette Phipps, LMSW, Research Analyst Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services
Coordinator: Catherine Wynkoop, PhD, FACHE(R)
2013-14 Research & Website Intern: Ilana Mittleman, Brandeis University, ’14