CVS Caremark — a Corporate Voices partner company — and Steve Wing, the director of workforce initiatives for that company, are featured in an informative and timely article in Business Week online that addresses a big issue facing many businesses. How do you retain the experience and expertise of older employees at a time when you have to make painful staff reductions?

Here’s from the article, written by Joseph Weber:

Last fall, drugstore chain CVS Caremark (CVS) cut some 800 jobs in Northern California after acquiring Longs Drugs, a Walnut Creek (Calif.) pharmacy rival. Despite those cuts, the company continues to recruit baby boomers and other older workers to staff stores across the country. “We need their expertise,” says Stephen Wing, director of workforce initiatives at CVS Caremark in Woonsocket, R.I. “When you’re in your 50s and 60s, you’re in your prime.”

Companies nationwide are laying off workers by the tens of thousands. But many are trying to spare the post-55 set from the ax, a reversal of the top-down trends in past waves of layoffs. They’re being driven by legal concerns—since boomers are in a protected age group—and by a need to keep experienced hands in place to keep the companies running and positioned for an upturn. “Seniority matters,” says Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. 

This story spotlights the challenge facing many businesses — large and small — concerning how they make jobs and opportunities available to younger workers while retaining baby boomers. For more background on this and other issues involving workforce readiness and at-risk young people go to the publications section of our Corporate Voices website.