Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 31, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

12:00 pm
to hear about the violent confrontations of the 1850's over whether kansas would be a free or slave state. we will take a tour of the state capital and have a conversation with governor sam brownback. >> this is a preview. >> this is what is a fascinating. when the investors started putting in billions of dollars, the people who have changed the game are the people in silicon valley who have coded the information. that will unlock more natural gas in the future. here's what's going to happen, there are going to be three supplement three things that take place.
12:01 pm
first, we will get underlying improvements in existing tech elegy equal to that has already occurred. -- all of it has gotten that her. that will happen again. in new we will later advanced automation. the automated ones are far more economically efficient. we're going to add robotics and industrial drones. the third thing is all of this will be optimized with analytics and big data. uberize the shale industry. >> tonight, this summer marks
12:02 pm
the 25th anniversary of digital television the author of tell levisionaries. >> that has been one of the more exciting things of the digital revolution. there used to be a stationary screen. with hd, that was a big screen in the living room. with the wireless world extending things, now you have tablets and smartphones and wi-fi all over the place. just a stationary experience, it's a mobile experience wherever you want to go. it's not just tv, it's video. communicators"the
12:03 pm
" on c-span2. next earlier, the committee on aging held a hearing on retirement. more and more americans are continuing to work later in life. aarp released a study about half must working or wanting to work into their retirement. showing this to you right now, this is about one hour and the minutes.
12:04 pm
>> this hearing will come to order. good afternoon. in the iconic 1985 found back to the future, marty and doc go 30 years back in time. they end up in 1955, the middle of the baby-boom, where they save the past and then blast off again to an impossibly distant future, the year 2015. that film comes to mind as i think about the changes we are seeing in how seniors approach work and retirement, the topic of today's hearing.
12:05 pm
for most of the past century, seniors have been withdrawing from the workforce as americans came to view retirement as a time of uninterrupted rest and leisure that could last for decades. by the year 2000, only 32% of americans age 55 and older were still working, and the average age of retirement had dropped to just 63, but the baby-boom generation has reversed this trend. today, 40% of workers 55 and older remain in the workforce, a ratio not seen since the
12:06 pm
eisenhower administration. the baby boomers are remaining in the workforce longer for many reasons, but one leading reason is the need for financial security. many americans today don't have the resources they need to live comfortably in retirement without working. it used to be said that retirement security was a three-legged stool, the first leg being an employer-provided pension, the second social security, and the third retirement savings. but with the estimated $7.7 trillion gap between what americans ages 32-64 have saved, and what they were actually need for retirement, that third leg has become wobbly, and a fourth leg continued work has been added to the stool.
12:07 pm
experts tell us that the re-engagement of seniors in the workforce could not have come at a better time for our economy. according to human resources professionals, 40% of the u.s. employers are struggling to fill jobs with qualified workers and could face a crisis if they lose their older workers. employers don't need these workers just to fill positions. they also need their talent, institutional knowledge, and especially their strong work ethic. compared to younger employees, with all due respect to my staff, workers aged 55 and older are significantly more engaged in their work. in fact, and engaged workforce is so important to the bottom
12:08 pm
line that a company could improve its profits by $150 million a year if its entire workforce were as engaged as older workers, according to the aarp. as we will hear from our witnesses today, financial needs are not the only reason that baby boomers want to continue working. they also want to stay active, mentally and physically. working also helps seniors state socially connected and preserve a strong sense of purpose and self-worth. more than half of this generation who do retire return to the workforce after just a few years. they use the break to catch their breath and retool,
12:09 pm
sometimes for less stressful work. because these retirees can rely on social security, medicare, and other sources of retirement income, they have the flexibility to pursue work on their own terms. taking a break from the workforce is not without risks. seniors may find that their skills have become out of date and that they have lost touch with key contacts and business trends. some of them face unspoken and misguided bias that is difficult to prove, but widely reported. whatever the reason, it takes twice as long for a senior to find a new job than it does for a younger person. the job hunt can be especially tough on workers laid off late in their careers. as this generation heads back to the workforce, employers who
12:10 pm
want to attract and keep older workers should recognize that many return to work because they want to, not just because they have two. -- have to. these workers are looking for flexible workplaces where they can continue to contribute and where their skills will be valued. our witnesses today have a wealth of knowledge. i look forward to their testimony today. i am now very pleased to turn to our ranking member for her statement. senator mccaskill: thank you. i want to thank you for holding this hearing.
12:11 pm
i sad to say from looking at the numbers that it appears to me that most of us on this committee would be deemed older workers. the most recent aarp study defines an older worker as over 50. except for tom cotton. i can see him over there. he's too young. >> he's gloating. senator mccaskill: the most recent aarp study defines an older worker over 50. i reluctantly confessed to meeting that threshold easily. i think our own personal experiences can add expertise to this conversation in terms of our capacity to grow and change over time. many of us baby boomers are doing with a much different landscape than we are -- are dealing with a much different landscape here we are a competitive bunch, so i have trouble with this concept that we cannot adapt to stay relevant in today's economy. that aarp study, a business case for workers age 50 and above, goes a long way to debunk this myth along with many others. more than nine in 10 workers over 50 have a computer, tablet, or smart phone, and those
12:12 pm
numbers have been growing significantly in the last three years alone. fewer than one in five seniors surveyed felt they had trouble keeping up with the technology, so don't tell me that you can't teach an older dog new tricks, and ultimately that older workers cost too much. due to the shifts and our pension systems away from defined benefit, adding a worker over 50 is not that much different to a company's bottom line than adding younger workers, according to the aarp. the fact of the matter is that our workforce is getting older. in under a decade, more than one in three workers will be older than 50. in missouri today, more than one in five workers is 55 and older. it's true, some older workers want to stay employed to feel productive and challenged. many other americans, i hasten to say that i believe the majority of americans are doing
12:13 pm
so out of necessity. this is a new era of retirement. few people have that pension check for life, and instead must set aside their own money. longer life spans means retirement that could last for decades, so it is no wonder that older americans are a bit nervous to stop working altogether. the smart companies have party figured out that the changing demographic and have developed ways to capitalize on the skills and experience this large group of workers can bring to the table. one of those companies is represented here today, and i don't know if i'm going to pronounce this right. is that right? they have for years recognize that it makes no sense to see its best and brightest workers walk out the door at age 55 when most nurses tend to leave the hospital floor.
12:14 pm
to combat this, they have developed a retirement system that deploys these workers in a variety of roles. they've also adjusted their benefits packages of these older workers could not be penalized for reducing hours. today, the program is so successful that it works across demographics. this culture of flexible work schedules is good not just for the older worker, but for the reservist, the mother, or any other employee who cannot work a full 40 hour schedule, but still brings ease tension skills to -- essential skills to the job. ssm health care offers its own retirement system. hundreds of employees have taken advantage of this plan. i should also point out that while working longer is a viable option for those seeking to build a retirement, it is not the answer for everyone. we should recognize that some people have spent years working jobs that are so physically
12:15 pm
demanding that asking them to do any kind of work into their 70's is not realistic. we still need to work to develop strategies for this group of workers, but that should not stop us from exploiting more ways to help older workers stay engaged and continue to earn an income if they so choose. with that in mind, i look forward to hearing the testimony from today's panel, and i think all of you for being here. >> thank you very much for your testimony. i will confess before this entire room that it was the ranking member who convinced me that i had to get an iphone. we are also pleased to be joined by the person who is the youngest member of the senate, is that accurate? >> it is, but i am old -- in spirit. >> first we will hear from our
12:16 pm
panel. she recently retired from her position as a strategic policy advisor for the aarp and is now a consultant specializing working in aging issues. we will then hear from susan, the owner of a specialty handbag company located in rural dexter, maine. she will testify that her experience, starting over in a new field and her experience employing an older workforce, and i particularly want to thank her for traveling down from maine to be with us today. third, we will hear from kerry, an off the, new york times
12:17 pm
columnist, and contribute editor for forbes. and finally we welcome james goodwin, the vice president of human resources from the virginia health system. thank you for being with us today. we look forward to hearing from you. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member, for inviting to testify today about the challenges and opportunities involved in prolonging working life. prolonged employment stands to benefit employers facing labor and skill shortages and the economy. it can also greatly enhance the retirement security of workers and their families by increasing social security benefits by as much as 8% a year by giving workers more time to save and benefit from a 401(k) match, if offered, and by reducing the
12:18 pm
number of years spent in retirement at unless supplement to income needed for retirement years. older workers are remaining longer and the workforce. one statistic highlights this point. among workers 65-69, traditionally thought of as retirement age, the participation great has arisen from 18% in 1985 to nearly 32% in 2014, or by over 70%. we cannot credit any single policy or program for hire higher
12:19 pm
participation rates at older ages. the older population is extremely diverse and response in different ways to different incentives and disincentives. rising educational attainment does seem to be a major determinant accounting for perhaps half of the increase in participation among older men, according to one study. up to 80% of workers say they expect to work in retirement, and we just heard some of the reasons. they need the money, but they also enjoy what they are doing. they want to remain active. they hope to make a contribution. yet far fewer workers actually remain in the labor force than say they expect to because of job loss, ill health, and caregiving responsibilities. others may be unable to find the opportunities that could keep them at work, less demanding jobs, new career options, good part-time jobs, and more flexible work schedules, for example. when to retire is a decision over which workers have some control, not total control, but more than they have over the stock market or housing values. exercising the controlled by working longer is what i think we have been seeing, including
12:20 pm
during the recent recession when labor force participation rates rose for older workers, but fell for younger ones. employers however have considerable say in what workers can and will do. on the plus side, employers tend to be very positive about older workers when it comes to attributes such as loyalty, dependability, customer relationships, and the like. on the minus side, many employers harbored negative attitudes about older workers costs and technological competence. the new aarp survey just mentioned may alleviate some of those concerns about costs and performance. moreover, if employers need workers, they will do what is necessary to obtain -- retain an adequate supply, and that will include drawing upon what is available, older people ready
12:21 pm
and eager to work. just what policy initiatives would encourage more employment at older ages and is scalable, cost-efficient manner, and in a way that does not pay for generations against one another is not so obvious. i offer several suggestions, and there are many others in addition. if i could identify only one this afternoon, it would be to promote older worker skills development to ensure that those workers have the qualifications they need to find work, change jobs or careers, or reenter the labor force after retirement. this means more money for the nation's workforce development system as well as monitoring older worker outcomes under the new workforce opportunity act.
12:22 pm
in addition, it is also incumbent upon us to promote lifelong learning to make sure that tomorrow's older workers do not face the same barriers that today's workers do. i said just that we might be well served by taking stock of what we know and do not know about what actually fosters longer work life, so that appropriate policies can be crafted to achieve our objectives. i shall conclude an appeal for more funding for the department of labor to how best incentive i older workers to work longer, and more employers to hire and retain them. thank you. >> thank you very much for your excellent testimony. >> chairman and ranking member, distinction member. thank you for inviting me to testify. i am the owner of a small manufacturing company and maker of handbags.
12:23 pm
i grew up in rural maine in an agricultural community. like many of my peers, i left home for college and employment. i settled in the newark city area and build a life with a family in several successful businesses. it had always been my intention to return home to maine. in 2006, my husband and i packed up and headed north, planning to retire. we settled outside of boston. year later, i saw a display of handbags in the gallery. the bright colors and quirky shapes amended investigation. the facility was in an old barn in the middle of a cornfield in the middle of nowhere. as soon as i walked in, i was hooked, the smell of letter -- leather, bright roles of fabric, it was mesmerizing. the company had fallen into
12:24 pm
disrepair and was poorly managed. i knew i can fix it. i bought the company in 2013. along with the asset purchase, i inherited a group of older women. if i move the company to far, they would be unemployed. one is 64, 69, so i felt an obligation to find a solution that did not leave them behind. we moved one town over to dexter, maine. warren buffett had improved most of the infrastructure for dexter shoes, so we had reliable electricity and a road for ups trucks to drive on. the equipment needed updating, and the new space gave me the opportunity to design more ergonomic workplace for my workers. few questions are asked at me, do older workers calls more?
12:25 pm
the answer is older workers cost different. i had to take into consideration my older workers when purchasing equipment. many stitching places have machines that require workers to stand at the machine. an older worker has a difficulty with this style of equipment. the equipment i purchased was more caught this costly, but lead to a better product and production time. the second question i get asked is, is it hard to train an older worker? are they to set in their own ways? the image of an old dog comes to mind and i have to laugh. when did we become all dogs? the answer is, no, it's not hard to teach an older person. i have found that an older worker is quick to us in light ideas in part because they have a larger set of experiential
12:26 pm
building blocks on which to pen a new concept. i suspect that an old dog who does not like new tricks was once a young dog that had an aversion to new tricks. to stay mentally active was my primary reason for starting a new career. i recognize the importance of this and created a workplace that is more studio than factory. each bag is made one at a time by one person. this gives each person a variety of duties and creates ownership and pride in their work. an older worker tends to be more balanced in their personal life. work is important, but it does not dominate. each employee sets their own hours, a benefit that cost me very little and goes a long way to making a better workplace. my employees are paid hourly, not by the peace. they get sick days, holidays, and vacation. we break and have a massage therapist come in once a month.
12:27 pm
financial necessity dictates the need to work for most of my employees. they worry about the longevity of social security and health care costs. we are a small company, but you can find our handbags throughout the country in galleries, museums stores, and some national parks. we are an older group. it is a workplace that includes older workers, more balance, more interesting. i don't know what role it any government should play in this issue. it is certainly worth discussing. for now, we will make our handbags and learn from one another old too young, and young to old. thank you for being my testimony. >> thank you very much for your testimony. i understand that you have one of your handbags with you. >> i do, but it's not the pretty one. >> you are welcome to put it out there.
12:28 pm
>> we should have asked you to bring in display. >> speaking of technology. >> always a step ahead. that is impressive. ms. hannan. >> thank you for inviting me to testify before the committee on aging and for focusing your attention on the challenges americans over 50 face in the workplace. i has spent three decades covering businesses, careers, and personal finance, and i am alarmed by the disconnect between employers and older workers. work at an older age is becoming increasingly common. some retirees have always taken part-time jobs out of financial need or to shore up financial retirement accounts.
12:29 pm
what is different now is that today's baby boomers are either working much longer were approaching work, not as an afterthought, but as a pillar of their retirement plan. the numbers tell the story. in 1991, 11% of workers expected to retire after age 65, according to the employee benefit research institute's 2015 retirement confidence survey. today, more than three times that number expect a retired after age 65. 10% don't plan to retire. two thirds of workers say they plan to work for pay and retirement. here is the hitch, many workers say they are going to work in retirement, but a very small percentage do. working for pay a few years longer can make a huge difference in financial security
12:30 pm
as we age. i suspect one of the reasons why people are not continuing to work is they cannot find a job and give up. as i travel around the country speaking to audiences of people over 50 who are looking for jobs, i see a palpable feeling -- fear in their eyes that they will outlive their money. simply put, they need to work. it comes to getting a job, it is a struggle. i will not sugarcoat it. this is what i find it -- an employer is concerned that an is no up forho get an ask if i need to botox or die my hair to look younger and i say no. you need a fitness program. you need to be physically fit and it's one of the best things you can do it you give off a certain energy and a can-do spirit. it goes a long way to fighting ageism. the second thing employers
12:31 pm
worry about is that you may not be up to technology. that is nonnegotiable. i encourage workers to take courses at a community college for local library to ramp it up. learning is imperative if you want to stay relevant in the workplace. the third thing they will worry about is that you are not going to play nicely with the other kids. by that i mean younger workers or become payable with a younger workforce. it's about fitting into the culture. you need to go out of your way to show you have had great multi generational work relationships. employers will worry that you are overqualified for the job and they will not be happy with the salary they can offer you. you will resented in time. it is a stark reality. many older workers i know who do find work of back to work at lower salaries than they had with their last employer.
12:32 pm
sometimes older workers opted to start their own businesses or switch careers but money is the biggest stumbling block to go that route. you will probably have to start a lower salary and if you start your own business, you will have the cost of start up and will yourselfle to pay for a while. you need to be financially fit before you start down that path. debt is a dream killer. i remind workers not to give up and think of ways they can redeploy their skills to other fields and not get stuck trying to replicate their old job. there are opportunities in the nonprofit arena and health care with small business or startups or small associations were your expertise is valued. if you are out of work right now, do something and keep your resume ally by volunteering for a cause you care about. you never know who you might who can point you to another opportunity or your work at turn into a full-time job. be willing to take on a contract or consulting job because it can fill those employment gaps in your resume.
12:33 pm
finally, money aside, working is something to get up in the morning for free at work gives us a sense of purpose and feeling connected and needed. work makes us feel relevant. in fact, studies showed keeps us healthier and keeps her mind sharper. i could go on but my time is up. i want to thank the committee for inviting me to be here today. >> thank you so much for your testimony. mr. goodwin guest: >> good afternoon. on behalf of the more than 13,000 employees of bon secours virginia health system, i thank you for the opportunity to share insights on how we attract and retain older workers. my name is jim godwin and i'm the vice president of human resources at bon secours. today i want to share with you why we value the knowledge and expertise of old workers in how they contribute to our success in our culture. as a roman catholic nonprofit health care system, bon secours
12:34 pm
is part of the maryland health care system. bon secours virginia has 8400 employees in richmond and 5000 employees in hampton roads, virginia. with five hospitals in the richmond area, three in hampton roads, dozens of an military care sites and support centers along with a college of nursing and school of medical imaging, we take our mission of providing good help to those in need to heart. the sisters of bon secours started our ministry in paris and remain a guiding force of our values and vision. nearly all the sisters are 60 years old or older and many continue serving well into their 80's and 90's, providing strategic direction and guidance. for us, workers of this age are common and we celebrate their vision, wisdom, and contributions. in our virginia health system, 35% of our employees are 50 or older, 11% are in their 60's. we have 126 employees in their
12:35 pm
70's, and a remarkable 12 in their 80's. some 82% of our workforce is female and more than one third are nurses. we value each employee in his or her unique qualities and life experiences. we believe our older workers' wisdom and institutional knowledge are invaluable. let me tell you about our long-term employees. one of them turns 81 this year and has worked for us for an amazing 58 years so far, starting in 1957. she tried retirement for a few months but her respect and compassion for her back. after six decades, she still works part-time in preplacement, connecting physicals, drawing blood, and helping to induct new employees into our workplace. our oldest employee is virginia abbott. virginia is 89 years old and celibate 29 years of service this year. outside of her incredible work stamina from what is so amazing
12:36 pm
about virginia's cheated not even come to work for us until she was 60 years old. yet she has been with us almost 30 years. we have five employees with 49 years of service. clearly work is the new fountain of youth for many of these employees. former high school administrator and a professional firefighter both recently graduated from the bon secours memorial college of nursing with bachelor's degrees in nursing. both of these men are over 50 years old and are enjoying second careers in our health system. another recent graduate was 62 years old. bon secours is committed to our culture that attracts, retains, and values workers that are over 50 years old. in fact, aarp has ranked us as the best employer for workers over 50 since 2003. we have been on "working mother magazine's" top places to work for years and added to the international listing of great
12:37 pm
workplaces annually since 2007. these accolades benefit bon secours because we are able to attract and retain a highly engaged workforce of all ages and lifestages. this directly benefits our patients, who have better care expenses and rate is higher on patient satisfaction surveys. let me show you how experienced nurses benefit patient care. the robert wood johnson foundation reports that our on average are spending 2.5 times more than their peers did in the 1980's and 1990's. that is a good thing for bon secours. we need them. as nurses age they report higher job satisfaction, much higher than other professions. that means as more baby boomer nurses age, they are more likely to be satisfied and keep working. that is invaluable when it comes to patient care and patient
12:38 pm
safety. however, working in a hospital setting can be hard on nurses due to the physical challenge. our patients are much heavier than they were in the past and heavier patients mean more workers prone to injury. that is why we have limited mobility lift teams to healthy older workers with the regular turning of patients. we have seen a reduction of muscle fatigue in older nurses as a result. our workforce is changing and working hard to adjust to the changes. america continues to face a nursing shortage. finding the right nurses for the right jobs at the right time remains difficult. we are going to need to keep our health care employees satisfied with their careers because the demand for health care is growing. at the same time, people are living longer and healthier lives, and the majority of u.s. workers are delaying their retirement. by offering initiatives such as phased retirement, flexible work schedules come intergenerational programming, bon secours has been successful in retaining its
12:39 pm
valuable older workers. today we have 100 virginia employees to which -- you receive a retirement check and a paycheck for us. our comprehensive benefits are flexible and our on-site family centers are a good example where we allow employees to have their grandchildren in the daycare centers as well as their parents. we have eldercare programs that benefit older workers in the sandwich generation where they are having to provide care for their parents as well as often for their children or the children who have returned home after graduating from college. in closing, i remind you to remember employees of bon secours virginia, like 89-year-old virginia added, who was a wonderful lady, people who working beyond their retirement age allow us to keep our mission viable and alive and thank you for the opportunity to share our story today. sen. collins: thank you, mr. godwin. ms. nordman, you mentioned in your testimony that you had run a number of other businesses before you return home to maine.
12:40 pm
i am assuming that those businesses probably had a younger workforce than the workforce that you now employ. is that true or not necessarily? ms. nordman: that's true, but i've never hired on the basis of age or anything. i always try and get employees who are going to fit into the team. at one point i had a good seven employees in one company, and we -- i had 37 employees in one company and we really did run the gamut of twentysomethings all the way up to 55 was probably the oldest. at that time. sen. collins: with older employees, do you find there is less turnover? ms. nordman: less turnover, less texting, less boyfriend drama. [laughter] sen. collins: all advantages of hiring of an older worker, no doubt about it.
12:41 pm
did you have less turnover and spending less on retraining? ms. nordman: i am spending less on retraining -- when you bring a person into a tiny group, it takes a lot of wiggling for that person to settle in and become part of the group. the better i can retain a worker, the better it is for the company come which is why it takes me so long to hire. process for me is at least three weeks because i want the right person. sen. collins: thank you. dr. rix, skill development programs, and if you and ms. hannon have mentioned the importance of skill development, but several skill development -- federal skill development programs are aimed at young workers. we have excellent apprenticeship programs, for example, that are aimed at people who are just coming out of community colleges
12:42 pm
for technical schools. we have other programs that tend to be aimed at people who are younger. and yet it may well be that an older worker, particularly one who has been out of the workforce for a while and has difficulty, as ms. hannon pointed out, in coming back into the workforce, may need a refresher on their skills or entirely new skills. i see this in maine, where we have had paper mills closed down, and people have worked for decades making very good paper and they are excellent papermakers, but that is what they have done their whole lives, and they are frequently in the 50's and all of this is in their face with having to switch careers. so i would be interested in any
12:43 pm
comments that each of you might have on current federal programs or other programs that you may be aware of, and whether they do a good job of helping older workers. one that i know of in the department of labor is called the senior community service employment program, and it is aimed at lower income individuals, aged 55 or older, but it has been pretty criticized for a number of reasons. do either of you have any suggestions for us as we look at federal job training programs? i will start with dr. rix and go to ms. hannon. and i'm going to ask you to turn on your mic. thank you. ms. rix: you mentioned one of the federally funded training programs for older workers. you are quite correct that we have not invested the federal
12:44 pm
resources in older workers. it it appeared they were singled out in the job training partnership act. for example, there was a special set aside for older workers that did not make into the workforce investment act and they have been singled out once again as a group with a special barriers to employment in the workforce innovation opportunity act. i think what we need to do -- what i would recommend is more older worker specialists in the american job centers that could help older workers be directed to programs in the community that would provide them with the appropriate skills. i'm not suggesting that the federal government set up special programs along the lines of the senior community service employment program, but rather,
12:45 pm
make the financial resources available to workers through the job centers or through other mechanisms along with the guidance that workers need about where the jobs are going to be and what type of training they need to obtain in order to get those jobs. a big problem that workers have faced in the job training environment is that they often engage in training, often using their own hard-earned resources, only to find that those training opportunities lead nowhere as far as jobs are concerned. we have to start at a very basic level, understanding what the labor market opportunities are in a particular area, namely, what the jobs are, what they are going to be, working closely with employers, job training providers, and government entities with the resources to
12:46 pm
help older workers and indeed workers of all ages know what they need to do to get what they want to find, good, secure employment providing decent jobs and benefits. sen. collins: thank you. ms. hannon? ms. hannon: i agree with dr. rix's points there. the big thing is helping older workers identify the skills they have. they have been there for years and they don't even see what they are good at anymore. the one-stop career centers often have coaching available there. a lot of individuals i have talked to find that working with the coach actually helps them identify skills that they had come and how they can redeploy those. get some confidence and lifted them out of the depression that they often fall into. it is a very important resource. if we could expand that to a certain degree in those centers, employers, if someone currently holds a tax incentive to offer educational assistance to employees is often a nice thing,
12:47 pm
if not all employers offer that, it is not a huge number, but i do believe that employees have access to even education that they can pay for with dollars that aren't taxed, it could be fantastic to encourage that because you have to continue motivating the learning cycle in order to move into these jobs. as we have discussed here, the certificate programs are terrific but some of them lead nowhere so you need to be cautious about people taking the path for a quick hit to learn a new skill. i find it is important to identify where these opportunities are going to be, and the department of labor has the occupational handbook, which i like a lot. the identify the fastest growing industries, things that are coming down the road, and they spell out what certifications you need to do this job. what is the median salary? it gives workers some starting point. it is great research. sen. collins: thank you. senator mccaskill.
12:48 pm
sen. mccaskill: thank you. let me ask first, mr. goodwin, is your culture of flexibility born out of necessity due to the nursing shortage, or did it happen organically because the recognition of the organization of the skills that were walking out the door? mr. godwin: well, the shortages of health-care workers in general, not just nurses, but health-care employers across the nation to be more flexible. it is somewhat easier to be flexible for us because we have such a wide variety of types of jobs and schedules and so forth. in health care we have historically had a mostly female workers, and because of how things were in the and 1950's and so forth, we had to be in a position to work around school schedules and so forth. that flexibility transcends all aspects of our workforce. being flexible helps older
12:49 pm
workers and it helps national guardsmen and also some other -- sen. mccaskill: right. mr. godwin: it is organic in that sense. sen. mccaskill: it seems like the flexibility at work schedules has become much more purple and last decade, but -- more prevalent in the last decade but still, there's a lot of excitement of our economy out there that have not recognized the validity of flexibility. i noticed, ms. nordman, you have flexibility for your workers in terms of the schedules. how many employees do you have right now? ms. nordman: we have 10 employees and we are looking to hire two more. sen. mccaskill: for older workers, one of the things that i think is a big topic that hasn't been discussed extensively yet is the -- what is the challenges of health care for older workers, especially
12:50 pm
those between 50 and 65. because that is before they are eligible for medicare, and in many small businesses -- i assume you do not provide health care in your business. ms. nordman: we do not provide health care, and any check goes to pay for their health care and probably two of her paychecks each week go to pay for her health care. sen. mccaskill: and i am aware -- you mentioned in your written testimony that their pay was about $25,000 a year, $12 an hour. ms. nordman: yes, and i am a high payer for my area. sen. mccaskill: you are a high payer for your area and your state is similar to my state in that they have not expanded medicaid under the affordable care act? ms. nordman: no, i don't think so. sen. mccaskill: your workers don't qualify for subsidies. the irony is that they are too poor to qualify for subsidies. ms. nordman: yes.
12:51 pm
sen. mccaskill: if they made a little bit more, their health insurance would go dramatically down, because they would be entitled to subsidies under the act. because your state, like missouri, has refused the federal dollars that were identified, that would make a big difference -- ms. nordman: and it would make a big difference. sen. mccaskill: for these older workers, who are working hard. it is not as if they are sitting at home. they are not the typical vision people have of a medicaid recipient. these are people who are working and providing great value to your company. ms. nordman: yes, they are. sen. mccaskill: and what about pre-existing conditions? i noticed in your testimony that two of your workers had cancer. ms. nordman: two of my workers have had cancer, and it is an issue for them. sen. mccaskill: so if we didn't have the ability to not discriminate against pre-existing conditions, that would be even more difficult for them in terms of their ability to get insurance?
12:52 pm
ms. nordman: it would be very difficult for them. sen. mccaskill: ms. hannon, or dr. rix, i'm assuming the ability to change jobs and retrain at an older age has been dictated up until very recently many times by the fact that you didn't want to leave your job if you have health care because if you had the nerve to be sick before, you couldn't go get insurance somewhere else because you had a pre-existing condition. i am assuming there is more portability now for older workers that want to follow a dream or want to start a business or want to do something differently. ms. rix: i suspect that is the case. however, access to health care still involves money. the continuing high cost of health care may be still preventing some people from pursuing that.
12:53 pm
sen. mccaskill: right, because they have the benefit and the job and they would have to be paying for themselves if they started their business, or perhaps went to work somewhere that was a much smaller company that was not required to provide any benefit at all. ms. rix: especially if they weren't paid very much -- ms. hannon: i think that is very much true. it has the illusion of creating portability for people. i know myself that it has become a more expensive for me with a new situation. sen. mccaskill: because you are a single business within llc? ms. hannon: right. sen. mccaskill: thank you very much. sen. collins: senator warren. sen. warren: thank you, madam chair. one of the biggest economic challenges facing the older workers is the increased risk of the coming disabled and unable to work, particularly because the likelihood of disability increase sharply increases with age.
12:54 pm
from age 40 to 50, the workers chance of becoming disabled doubled, and from age 50 to 60 doubles once again. social security disability insurance is the only way that millions of these workers stay out of poverty when they get hurt. now, people sometimes think of disability programs as separate from retirement-age social security, but both programs are about helping seniors. fully 70% of social security disability insurance beneficiaries are in their 50's and in their 60's. dr. rix, as a former senior policy advisor to the aarp, you are an expert on the economic hardships facing older workers. can you explain how the social security disability system works? ms. rix: it works very much like the social security retired workers program. it is an income or earnings protection program that protects
12:55 pm
workers from loss of earning in the face of severe disability, and that is disability that is estimated to last at least a year or result in death. it is not a program for malingerers. the criteria for eligibility for fsdi are very strict and many individuals who apply for disability benefits never received them. sen. warren: and just like regular social security, disability insurance is something people earn from working. is that right? ms. rix: yes. sen. warren: so why is the program so important to the financial security of older workers? ms. rix: the disability program? i think for the very reasons that you expressed, older workers -- and i do want to emphasize that disability can occur at any age and most older workers are not disabled. but as you mentioned, they are
12:56 pm
more likely to become disabled with age, and that modest benefit that they receive from the fsdi program is often all were a very significant portion of the income the household receives. and that is because they are generally unable to work or are very limited in what they can do and so their earnings are very low as well. sen. warren: i understand the modest benefits -- $1165 a month, and they keep about 6.6 million disabled americans from falling into poverty. sometimes the retirement fund runs low, and sometimes the disability fund runs low. we have these two funds in social security. usually this is not a big deal. the government regularly transfers money back and forth between the two social security programs, retirement and disability. we have done it 11 times before in both directions that it has moved. but next year is different.
12:57 pm
the disability fund this time will need a transfer, but the very first thing the house republicans did when they came that in january, literally on the first day of the new congress, was to pass a new rule to prevent a routine transfer to the disability fund. now, let's be clear, this is an invented social security crisis, taking the disability system hostage to dismantle social security inch by inch. if they got their way, the house republicans would force a disabled americans, most of them seniors, to face a 20% cut in their social security checks next year. dr. rix, house republicans argued that we need to gut social security disability programs in order to save it. do you disagree? ms. rix: i do disagree. the social security disability system needs reform, but it does not need gutting. it is too important to today's
12:58 pm
disabled americans, regardless of age. i, for one, would resist any attempt to gut the program if i were in a position to do so. sen. warren: thank you very much. when we talk about working seniors and what it means to be a working senior, i want to be clear about this. it doesn't fool anyone. it is an attack on seniors and it is time to stop playing games with the economic stability of millions of seniors who depend on social security to live with dignity. thank you, dr. rix. thank you, madam chairman. sen. collins: senator casey, perhaps you can help us get back on topic. sen. casey: thank you very much for the panel testimony. i didn't hear all of it but i wanted to highlight the fact that i don't know the exact average for the age of u.s. senators, but we are above 55, i think.
12:59 pm
we listen carefully to recommendations for today. i think senator donnelly is 24 but -- so he brings it down but we all getting close to that age of not there already. i wanted to start with mr. godwin. in your testimony you on, among other things, intergenerational services, and you have some expertise in this. one number that stood out for me in addition to what dr. rix and her testimony talked about, the participation rate, or labor force participation rate of older workers going from about 18% in 1985, increasing by 70% to an number like 32% in 2014. so what huge increase in the labor force participation rate.
1:00 pm
one thing i wasn't aware of until the hearing was that 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren, and the challenges that come with that, in any event, but especiallygras that come with that in any event, but specially in the event with a grandparent is working and responsible for their grandchildren. i know that is not the only burden they might face, but in those circumstances where there is both a challenge of getting a job after a certain age and also canng an additional burden, you give us some advice or some suggestions as to the best way companies can alleviate some of that burden? we find that our benefits for young mothers apply equally well to those who are now having to care for their grandchildren. workers taking
1:01 pm
care of the grandchildren, sometimes with their grandchild in their home with them and sometimes without. we have the advantage of having on-site childcare and a number of our facilities. yearsput that in 20 or 25 ago when it was for working mothers primarily. now that plays very well for employees with grandchildren in the same centers. when you pair that with the possible work schedules, it means the grandparent can have a possible schedule for getting children on and off the bus, for dealing with children who are ill and have to have visits with their physicians and so forth. it is the same package in the same mindset. to -- iey: i wanted know one of the realizations ist animates this discussion
1:02 pm
noticeably the deep reservoir or skill, but also wisdom at the same time. what we try to do at hearings like this in addition to learning and hearing suggestions about the current state of a challenge or a problem or an opportunity are things we can do legislatively to move it forward. sometimes there is not a legislative remedy or strategy. in the remaining time i have, we can start with you dr. rix and moved to my right a suggestion for how we would work on strengthening or changing the policy or introducing some new legislative policy change. things: are a number of in my testimony that are
1:03 pm
additional resources for training and retraining older workers. that would be the top of my list. there are a number of other somatic or more impactful recommendations -- less dramatic and more impactful liquidations recommendations. businesses with 15 or more employees rather than the current 20 us of a law would protect more older workers. requiring employers to provide paid family leave programs should make it easier for .iddle-aged and older workers combining responsibilities with paid work, eliminating some of the impediments to formal faced retirement programs may allow
1:04 pm
workers to obtain work schedules that many of them tell us they are interested in. at might want to take a look that rather than my going to all of them right now. sen. casey: thank you. host: i do think that -- ms. rix: i do think most of the burden rests on the shoulders of the lawyer employers. legislative initiatives might when i am not sure there is much policy we can do to change that. sen. casey: thank you very much. >> if you want to have the rest of the witnesses respond, i .ould be happy to do so
1:05 pm
>> as an employer, i agree it is our responsibility. i think it is our responsibility to not discriminate on any level as you provide a workforce that is safe and friendly and productive. i do agree that it is on us. it is honest to provide jobs for older workers. >> a couple of highlights to encourage more flexible workforce, workers want autonomy. they want to be it with work from home. it does not have to cost more to retrofit your office. a commitment to the community college system already has 50 plus education programs. if there is any way we can build on what they are offering today would be great. trying to figure out how can we deal with the segment of a population that needs education
1:06 pm
which we had ignored for years. it is the old folks. we need programs for them. finally, i think the idea of making financing easier for senior entrepreneurs to have access to that, a lot of people in this age group want to start their own business and be their own boss. it is hard to get loans for that. sen. casey: thank you. >> we have a high percentage of veterans in virginia. i would ask you to preserve and enhance the educational benefits were veterans. it really benefits the older population as well. sen. casey: thank you very much. senator kaine: i came to the hearing thinking about the work needs of older workers and i found that when i was thinking was this question of flexibility for workers -- your testimony is about your particular industry,
1:07 pm
not just older workers. it was in a health care field that was very much dominated by workers and schedules that reflects for family needs. you guys may have been culturally a pioneer with some of the principal work arrangements. yes, that does seem to be a broader trend for older workers. my dad decided he wanted to be a volunteer for a local charities organization and volunteer one or two days a week. they said we would like to hire you. i don't want to be hired because i want more flexibility. they struck a deal where he works a day or two as a volunteer and then get paid for a day or two a week with possibility every week in terms of how many days he works. my dad is 80 years old. as arrangement is similar to my middle son, who is an artist and works in a restaurant just enough hours to make enough money to do his art, which is what he really wants to do. he said everybody who works at a restaurant is just like him.
1:08 pm
they are all artists. they all work enough to have an income that supports their artistic passion. it strikes me that we are maybe moving into a new age of work where the traditional 40 hour isk week, the 9:00 to 5:00, probably less and less the case. from virginia recently gave a speech. if you see a young person, do not ask them where they work. asked them what they are working on. that is a much better question for their particular condition. i applaud you guys at once a core -- guys for being on the possibility side. how hard is that for you as a human relations personal? you have a low staffing slots to fill because you are open 24/7 365. if we can put more word out to employers that possibility is a ,reat way to find more workers
1:09 pm
as a human relations professional, what challenges does that posed to your organization? mr. godwin: when i would challenge the lawmakers and employers to look at is what civility is not just about scheduling. it is about telecommuting. is about the nature of the work and how we redesigned the workspace. flexibility is a lot more than just scheduling. the challenge is to keep reinventing ourselves over time. we do not rest on our laurels and think whatever we come up with now will fit how things will be in five years. we are constantly looking at other employers, learning from panels like this, and from a lot awardsemployer o would buy for -- awards we apply for. you have to continually change. sen. kaine: the fact that you have been awarded since 2005 by
1:10 pm
aarp is a great place for older workers has been a real tribute to that culture. i applaud you for that. the hearing is really getting at the notion that not just for older workers but for a lot of folks the world of work is changing. the way people used to go to work with one organization and stay there is not the same anymore either. resist and the questions about social security and disability, you said we think we do need to reform it. obviously, we do not want to gut social security to reform it but we would love to hear your thoughts.
1:11 pm
ms. rix: i would prefer to defer to my colleagues who are poor more expert on the disability insurance programs and i am-- than i am. truel leave it to the experts. sen. kaine: i think sometimes there is a tendency that if you talk about reform, you are trying to gut the program, the bells go off. we can have it there for us and it can be there for the next generation. be like thet to first generation of congress that is unwilling to make changes to make sure it is there for the next. i think there is a need for reform. if your organization has ideas for that, i would be interested in it. chair.ou madam
1:12 pm
>> thank you senators. we enjoyed hearing your exchange with your constituents. one of the takeaways i have on this hearing is that older workers often are more dependable, bring certain to avoidllow employers retraining and turnover that may occur with the younger work force. that possibility is very important to them. i think it is very interesting that ms. nordman's testimony was that she has a worker who comes in very early in the day to start working. mr. godwin also talked about flexible hours and making sure that grandchildren could come to the day care centers.
1:13 pm
it seems to me that another lesson from this hearing is that we need to tailor more of our programs to make sure people have the skills that are for the jobs that exist. there is often a mismatch between job-training and the jobs that actually are out there. i was interested to learn of the occupational handbook that ms. hannon mentioned. ms. rix talked about the need to better align the training and education for the workforce for older workers or any workers with a jobs that are actually out there. i think this has been a very interesting exploration of this issue. one of the goals of our committee is to explore the issue of retirement security. in our state of maine, the
1:14 pm
state ms. nordman: and i live in, one out of three retired individuals lives on social security. the average social security anefit is less than $16,000 year. the kind of jobs that ms. areaan is providing in an of the state that is very rural and does not have a lot of employers is so essential to the financial security of those workers that you are employing. indeed, i would wager that it is a difference between a comfortable standard of living in poverty for many -- and poverty for many because they are living on their social , than they are going to
1:15 pm
have a difficult time. on want to express my personal appreciation for your willingness to leave the more affluent urban areas of our state and come to rural maine, by business, keep it alive, grow it, and employ older workers. you are really making the kind of difference that a good employer can make. in the end, it does come down to employers being able to do what you are doing, what mr. godwin is doing to accommodate workers. in return, you get a wonderfully hard-workingd, and workforce as both of you have explained. i appreciate our two technical experts for being here today and sharing your expertise with the committee as we continue to explore this issue.
1:16 pm
i think this is an issue that has not received the attention that it deserves. i think we are facing a tsunami of retirees will find that they are going to outlive their savings. that they have not prepared for their retirement. working longer or working part-time or returning to work is a very important part of financial security for older americans. that is a message that i hope our committee is helping to disseminate. i want to thank you all for being here today. i want to see in our ranking member would have any closing comments she would like to make. >> no. a want to clarify that my challenge workers, i understand
1:17 pm
you are doing something unusual in our country, and that is trying to revitalize manufacturing in rural communities. i grew up in part of my childhood in lebanon, missouri. we had a facility manufacturing jeans. is of course long gone. many other facilities like that in rural communities that provided important manufacturing opportunities also. i get the challenges and what you are doing and the fact that you have 10 and are looking for you are, that shows smart and doing the right thing and expanding your workers because you have demand and are producing something people want to buy. congratulations on that. to all of you, thank you very much. sen. collins: thank you so much for being here today. thank you for your extraordinary participation always and putting
1:18 pm
together this hearing. sswant to note that senator sat was already here that was also injured today and wanted to thank everyone for the contributions. the hearing record will remain open for additional testimony. 10.tions until friday, july we are giving the holiday week to give a little bit of additional time. i also want to thank the committee staff for their hard work. this concludes our hearing. >>. as a look at what is ahead on c-span. a couple of moments with the school year getting underway. an investigation into
1:19 pm
campus sexual assault. the senate education has held hearings on it. shortly, we will show you one of those hearings. away.just a few minutes then we will open our phone lines and get your reaction at about 3:30 p.m. eastern. president obama travels to alaska today to the city of anchorage. is expected to talk about climate change in a speech. we will record that. we will show it to you in its entirety later tonight on c-span. we will update you on the time of that broadcast as soon as we can. the president also making news assigning the renaming of mount mckinley in alaska to denali. that is a move that has gotten mixed comments to date. john boehner took issue with the removal of president mckinley's name from the mountain. mckinley also from ohio. is figures press release reads -- the speaker's press release reads in part --
1:20 pm
in the meantime, alaska's senior republican senator feels differently. here is what she had to say recently about the name change. >> for generations, alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the great one. today, we are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as denali. i would like to thank the president for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the people of alaska. again, hearing what president obama has to say about climate change tonight here on c-span. >> tonight on the communicators, this summer marks the 20th anniversary of digital television. discusses how modern television has changed.
1:21 pm
mark: many of us, and that is increasing every day, watching in a multi screen world. that has been one of the more exciting outcomes of this whole digital revolution. it used to be that there was a stationary screen. with hdtv, that was a big screen in the living room. with the internet and wireless now you haveng, thing tablets and smartphones and wi-fi all over the place such that tv is not just the lean back stationary experience in the living room, but it is very much in the mobile experience where everyone to go. it is not just tv. it is also video. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. tv isature feature of the our all the coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country with top nonfiction authors.
1:22 pm
here is our schedule. beginning this weekend, we are alive from the 15th annual national book festival from our nations capital. new the end of september, we are in new york for the brooklyn festival celebrating its 10th year. in early october, it is the southern festival of books in national. the weekend after that, we all live from austin for the texas book festival. new the end of the month, we will be covering to book festivals on the same weekend from our nation's heartland. it is the wisconsin book festival in wisconsin. back on the east coast, it is the boston book festival. we will be in portland oregon for word stock followed by the awards from new york city.at the end of november, we are alive for the 18th year in a row for the miami book fair international. that is a few of the fares and festivals this fall on c-span twos webtv. now a look at sexual assault
1:23 pm
on college campuses. senators claire mccaskill, gillibrand, and dean heller appeared before a senate committee in late july to discuss the bill that would combat the problem. janet napolitano testifies. this is just over two hours. afterwards, we will open our phone lines to get your reaction. >> the senate committee on health, education, labor, and pensions will come to order. good morning.
1:24 pm
today's hearing march the committee's seventh congress on the higher education act. this morning, we will be discussing sexual assault on college campuses and legislative proposals aimed at listening this crime and providing justice for the survivors and the alleged perpetrators. before we begin, i would like to share a brief statement from chairman lamar alexander, who asked me to read the following. i have asked senator collins to because iy's hearing have had to go to nashville for the funeral of a close friend. before she was elected to the senate, senator collins worked at hudson university in bangor maine, so she brings a valuable information.
1:25 pm
and is always weird to read with someone says about you. [laughter] i think the witnesses were attending. the goal of federal regulations and rules should be to help colleges and universities create campus environments that make students safer from sexual assault. in doing that, we should be careful to eliminate duplicate of laws and regulations on set spending unnecessary time filling out forms, colleges have more time to counsel students and create a safer environment. two, help colleges better coordinate with law enforcement agencies but not turn colleges into law enforcement agencies. three, establish procedures that are fair and that protect the due process rights of both the accused and the accuser. regretshat the chairman
1:26 pm
very much that he could not be here today. i would ask that the remainder of his full statement reprinted and record -- in the record. one of the things i most enjoy as the united states senator, is the opportunity to meet with students from my home state of maine. a sentiment i am sure many of my colleagues share. yesterday, i had breakfast with my summer interns, who attended six different colleges and universities. incidents ofthe sexual assault on their campuses and what can be done to halt this crime and meet the needs of survivors. the students had three insightful recommendations. first, they all support mandatory ongoing training for all students.
1:27 pm
second, they emphasized that students who are assaulted need a confidential advisor to whom they concern. third, as chairman alexander mentioned, they believed it was important to make sure that disciplinary procedures are fair both for those who are assaulted and for those who are accused. there are two federal laws to help combat sexual assault on campuses. and title ix of the education amendment of 1972. last congress, provisions of the cleary act were updated by the enactment of the violence against women act reauthorization. senator
1:28 pm
1:29 pm
many colleges and universities are also engaged proactively in raising awareness about sexual assault among the student body. for example, the university wants its office of federal assault and violence prevention last year. it has undertaken a campaign to educate students through posters, brochures, presentations, and training. mercedes dubais who happens to hell for my home taino -- -- who happens to hail from my hometown of caribou told me the office of greek life requires students in sororities and fraternities to participate in sexual assault, domestic violence, and alcohol and drug awareness training each year. the system we have in place is designed to allowed ministers to intervene quickly on behalf of
1:30 pm
-- administrators to intervene quickly on behalf of students in a way that is separate from the judicial system. i hope this hearing will inform the committee of what in the current system is working and what needs to be changed and whether additional reforms are needed to help keep students safe while respecting the privacy of sexual assault survivors and providing due process rights for all students. this committee has formed a bipartisan working group to explore campus sexual assault and campus safety in greater detail. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses on how we can build consensus around this important issue. our first panel today is comprised of senators who have worked tirelessly together on legislation to combat campus sexual assault and have introduced the campus
1:31 pm
accountability and safety act. senators mccaskill, heller, jill lebron, and ayotte are four of the original probe -- cosponsors of this bill and have the devoted a great deal of time and energy to this effort. i also want to recognize the work of senators blumenthal, grassley, warner, and rubio. the campus accountability and safety act include several provisions that merit our full consideration. all of the senators who will be testifying have shown great leadership in addressing campus sexual assault and i want to thank each of them for their participation this morning. it is now my great pleasure to turn to the ranking member, senator murray. i will say this feels like old times when we left the transportation appropriations subcommittee. >> thank you very much.
1:32 pm
it's great to be working with you on this committee. i know the women of the senate have come today. and want to be here for this. [laughter] i want to thank all of our witnesses as well who represent a wide array of perspectives and appreciate all of you for taking the time to join us. we recognize the worst of our first four witnesses. -- we recognize the work of our first four witnesses. we thank you for all your time and attention to this critical issue. fighting back against sexual assault on campuses requires coordination and focus at every level. i'm grateful to all of our witnesses took the time to be here today to talk about this. higher education is an important pathway to the middle class. it's an opportunity for students to grow personally and develop skills that will prepare them to succeed in today's economy. with all of that to focus on, the last thing a student should have to worry about is whether they are safe on campus.
1:33 pm
the harsh reality is that one out of five women is sexually assaulted in college and men as well. in 2013 alone, college campuses reported 5000 forcible sex offenses in a recent study and it indicated that could be much greater. there should be no question that sexual body -- violence on campus is a widespread, growing, and on acceptable problem. -- and on acceptable problem. simply put, in colleges and universities across the country, basic human rights are being violated. all too often, current systems and campus climates encourage underreporting rather than action. as we talk about the seriousness of this problem, it's important to acknowledge the work already underway to address it. survivors like the witness we have in our second panel have greatly stepped up to make clear -- bravely stepped up to make clear they expect far better
1:34 pm
from their schools and their communities. in doing so, they have forced a national conversation and they have shown other survivors they are not alone. president napolitano, great to have you here today. another university leader has made fighting campus sexual assault of cap -- a top priority. they have development partnerships between schools and committees and law enforcement to coordinate response and take important steps to focus on prevention and improve compliance with the cleary act which is something this stafford has worked on closely. just last month, banks to the work of many today including senator casey, regulations went into effect as part of the violence against women act of 2013 that will require schools to increase transparency about sexual violence and assault and strengthen prevention efforts. these are critical steps but without question, there's much more to be done. i see our conversation about
1:35 pm
reauthorizing the higher education act as a critical opportunity for continued an urgent needed progress. i am pleased that key senate leaders are here today with us to discuss their campus accountability and safety act legislation that would take steps to improve campus climate by requiring far greater transparency about the prevalence of campus sexual assault, put in place key protections for survivors, improve harsher penalties in schools that don't meet requirements. i want to know that when a student is attacked, her school in her community will be ready to respond with compassion, respect, and accountability. i think we can agree we need to do everything we can to engage students in school so sexual assaults do not happen in the first place. recent research by the senate is -- centers for disease control and prevention which is probably ongoing effort has identified cap a sexual assault as a public health issue. it has shown that sustained comprehensive education programs
1:36 pm
can help prevent sexual assault especially by preparing students to fight back against the damaging myths that surround rape and assault. increasing bystander intervention would help break down norms. i am very eager to hear from all of our witnesses today about programs and policies aimed at prevention. a much more effective program and require can make a huge difference but we cannot expect to fix this problem just by changing the rules. we have to do something much more difficult and that is to change culture. for example, a few years ago, ms. bolger brought to life it at her, monitor, amherst college, a fraternity had printed t-shirts depicting a woman being roasted on a spit like a pig. those students went unpunished. take a minute to think about the message that sends to students male and female about how much their community values women. unfortunately, this is just one
1:37 pm
example of countless to choose from across the country. that is why the national conversation that students like ms. boulder have started and other leaders including many here today have stepped up to support is so absolutely critical. a country that values women and all individuals is stronger for it. we all me to do our part to keep this conversation going and many to make it louder. we have done far too little in congress over the years to support survivors and to be a voice for women across the country, daughters and granddaughters, who are counting on us. i am glad that chairman alexander and i agree that the health committee needs to join the debate on campus sexual assault. much more fully i want to thank all of our witnesses including our colleagues here today for taking the time to be such a critical part of this discussion and the work that all of you have already done with many other members on both sides of the aisle who are very much focused on this fight. as we continue our conversation about our country's higher
1:38 pm
education system and our work on this committee, we have an opportunity to stand up for survivors and make clear the state's quote is completely -- the status quote is completely unacceptable and help continue the conversation about changes we absolutely need to see. i am very committed to to seizing this opportunity and i want to thank senator collins and recognize senator alexander as chairman of this committee for stepping up to this. he will very much. -- thank you all very much. >> thank you, senator murray. i am pleased to welcome our colleagues as the first panel of witnesses today. missouri senator claire mccaskill has a long history of fighting sexual violence going back to when she prosecuted sex crimes and established a domestic violence unit in kansas city and leading to her current work in the senate to curb sexual assaults in the military and on college campuses.
1:39 pm
she is the lead on the campus accountability and safety act. nevada senator dean heller has been an advocate for sexual assault survivors since his 10 years in the house of representatives where he led a bipartisan effort to reduce the rape kit backlog and to help bring closure to victims and families of this horrendous crime. new york senator kirsten gillibrand has been a key voice on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses and also in the military particularly in her role on the senate armed services committee. new hampshire senator kelly ayotte, drawing on her experience as the new hampshire chief prosecutor and former attorney general, has also worked hard in the senate to stop sexual assault and the mystic violence.
1:40 pm
-- and domestic violence. thank you all for being here today we will start with senator mccaskill. >> thank you very much. thank you for holding this important hearing on this issue. these crimes are troubling to parents, students, and educators. as a mother and a grandmother but maybe most importantly, informed by my former work of many years in the courtroom prosecuting sex crimes, i am working extensively with my senate colleagues to ensure students are protected from incidents of sexual violence and perpetrators are held accountable. i am very proud to work with senator heller, gillibrand, ayotte, grassley, blumenthal, warner, and rubio. we introduced a version of the campus accountability safety act last year. we did not stop at the version we introduced last year. over the past 15 months, our coalition of eight offices has met with over 60 organizations including groups representing students who have been victims of college sexual assault, colleges and universities, and
1:41 pm
their associations, law enforcement, victim advocacy, researchers, and parents of those children who have been accused of sexual assault on college campuses. after introducing laster's -- last year's version, in july of 2014, as we continued to meet with stakeholders and gather more feedback, we have made significant improvements to the bill. we have reintroduced this bill with an even larger. bipartisan coalition currently, the bill has 33 cosponsors, 12 democrats and 20 -- 12 democrats -- 12 republicans and 20 democrats which is a bipartisan coalition that we don't see every day in the united states senate.. our legislation is so much stronger for it where all honestly proud of the work we have done together. finally, we want to bring this crime out from the shadows and make it a priority on our nation's campuses.
1:42 pm
as a former prosecutor, i take special interest in assuring that those who have been victimized by sexual assault are given adequate support and feel empowered to make informed decisions in a very complicated situation. there are different systems-there is the legal system and title ix. there are different obligations depending on who learns of the crime. these young people need to have information they can rely on as they navigate this complicated scenario. at a moment, they are traumatized, emotional, and are worried they have no place to turn for reliable information or where they would be treated with credibility. our legislation would establish new campus resources and support services for victims who have been -- who are alleging they
1:43 pm
have been victims of sexual assault. colleges and universities would be required to designate confidential advisers to these students. the confidential adviser i think may be the most important part of our legislation. this is a person that guides the student through the process of understanding the potential legal and campus reporting process, following the sexual assault and can provide confidentiality through that process. not only would the confidential adviser coordinate the court services for those who have been assaulted but they would provide critical information about options for reporting these crimes to campus authorities and/or local law enforcement. they would support the students every step of the way and will put them back in charge of what happens to them moving forward. we have heard from advocates and those who have been assaulted that they need someone they can talk to in order to learn about their options without being forced to make a permanent
1:44 pm
decision right away. the confidential adviser works slowly -- solely at the discretion of those who would been assaulted and provides important information on reporting sexual assault. i believe their creation is critical to tackling the underreporting that pervades this issue and leaves perpetrators unaccountable. it's my hope this provision empowers students who are assaulted on a friday night to know on that same friday night who he or she can call and where he or she can go for good information and confidential support. i also want to mention that our bill now includes the provision to ensure more transparency about the campus judicial process. our bill requires that both the victim and the accused have timely notice of an institution's decision to proceed with an institutional disciplinary process regarding an allegation of sexual misconduct. this would provide both the victim and the accused students
1:45 pm
with the opportunity to meaningfully exercise the right afforded to them under institutional policy. it is critically important that both of the parties participate on a level playing field in the campus disciplinary process. we must continue to work to improve confidence in the judicial and campus system which will in turn increase reporting, support survivors, and punish perpetrators of sexual assault on our college campuses. in addition, we must make sure that these provisions provide transparency for those who are accused. i look forward to working with my senate colleagues and members of this committee on the provisions of this bill and the larger campus accountability and safety act in the coming months. we think between all of us that have worked on this and all of the input we have taken, we believe there are several key provisions that could be included and the re-off -- in the reauthorization of higher education that could make a real difference going forward and we
1:46 pm
really appreciate this committee taking the time to deal with it today. we have tried to divide the testimony where we are not too repetitive. it's hard for us not all to want to be here. we appreciate you putting up with all four of us wanting to get our words and this morning, thank you. >> senator heller -- >> i want to thank you for the opportunity to testify on this particular issue that i think is critically important. i want to thank you for your opening statements from both of you and for your understanding and concern and support of moving something forward here so we can make sure these campuses are safe. i am proud to work along with my colleagues here. i'm glad to see after senator murray plus comments that there are more male senators that of shown up. [laughter] it was lonely for a while but i'm sure there are senators that are just as interested and devoted to this issue as i am.
1:47 pm
when we first started working on the legislation, it was important for me to sit down with the stakeholders in the state of nevada. last june, held a roundtable in las vegas. i received input from title ix coordinator's, police officers, victims advocacy groups on ways to prevent sexual assault and assist students are buyers. -- survivors. i brought their ideas back to washington as mike kelly to did -- as my colleagues did the same and much of the feedback helped draft our first bill. this is only one example of outreach that most senators do. since the first introduction of our bill come our bipartisan working group continued to meet with stakeholders across the nation including survivors groups, students, colleges and universities, law enforcement and others to help strengthen and improve our new bill that we introduced earlier this year. from the beginning, we have also worked diligently with your committee to ensure our final bill incorporated comments from experts on our nation's educational system.
1:48 pm
our working group strongly believes we have put together a comprehensive product that will provide our schools with the fools they need to make our campuses safer. i know for me and many parents, watching your children go off to colleges a proud moment. parents want to be confident that their sons and daughters will be safe and have access to resources that they need from their schools. unfortunately, it's not always the case. we have over 100 colleges and universities today under investigation for violation of title ix in the handling of campus sexual violence. while we have seen news stories about these tragic events, with the reality is there are many more survivor stories that have not been heard and have not been told. sexual assault is a crime that more often than not goes unreported. that is where the reasons why data provided by our nations institutions simply do not reflect the prevalence of this crime. in fact, there are many colleges and universities z that have
1:49 pm
reportedero incidences of sexual arrest -- that have reported zero incidences of sexual attacks. one of the most important provisions of our bill is the campus climate survey which will improve access to accuracy, campus level data by allowing students to anonymously share their experiences related to sexual assault. under our bill, the school will give the students anonymous online surveys to gauge the scope of sexual assault on campus and the effectiveness of the current institutional policies on this issue. the department of education responsible for developing this survey is picking up its cost. schools need to ensure adequate and random sample of students taking the survey. the survey results will be reported to congress. it will be published on the department of education website. this survey will be standardized in the merck and public will be
1:50 pm
-- and the american public will be able to compare the campus climates of all schools. as the father of four children, wish i had access to this kind of information when my kids were preparing to go to college. as a grandfather of two, my hope is that when they grow up and go off to school, our nation's campuses will be safer than ever before. the campus climate survey will be an educational tool for students and parents as well as an invaluable resource for institutions to help create or enhance evers to prevent sexual -- efforts to prevent sexual assault, assist survivors of the crime and improve campus safety overall. this provision is one example of how congress can act today and make fighting this crime a priority. we cannot legislate all sexual assault at no bill is perfect, campus accountability is a step in the right direction toward combating this heinous crime, guaranteeing survivors have access to the resources they need and deserve. thank you again for the opportunity to testify today and i look forward to hearing from i colleagues at the witness table. it has been an honor and
1:51 pm
pleasure to serve with them and work with them to get this work done. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. senator gillibrand. >> i'm so grateful for your attention on this issue and your commitment and i'm grateful to chairman alexander and having this hearing which is invaluable. about a year ago, we outlined a way to help students from sexual assault and we heard some -- from survivors who spoke passionately about the harm and physical assault they endured with the second and justice -- the injustice of feeling betrayed by a school they loved, and administration they trusted. we listen to law enforcement, we talked to cap's officials and the advocates for the rights of the accused all the want of their voices heard. as senator mccaskill said, this second bill we have introduced is truly a superior version of the first bill. the fundamental objective of this bill is to flip the
1:52 pm
incentives so that the first time it would be in the school best interest to solve the problem, to actually do it aggressively and get it right. we did it because the price of a college education should never be the risk. it is becoming increasingly clear that too many schools are failing because they do not take sexual assault seriously enough. they do not see it as a violent felony that it is. they do not treat these as life altering assaults and they do not treat them as violent crimes. schools across the country will routinely withhold a diploma if you don't pay your fees. they will routinely kick you out if you cheat on a test but the statistics for students who violate other students and were found responsible show that only 1/3 are expelled for the crime. in other words, 2/3 of students responsible for sexual assault are still on their college campuses.
1:53 pm
what does this say about school priorities of some colleges have tougher justice for student cheating on exam that for someone who has raped another student? the campus accountability and safety act would transform the way colleges and universities do with this crime. with this bill come instead of pretending these kinds don't happen, schools would be held accountable for reporting their sexual assault statistics accurately and publicly. every college and university in the country would give their students an anonymous standardized survey to assess the student experiences with campus sexual violence and the results of this survey would give students, parents, and campus administrators a snapshot of what is happening on their campuses that would pay a far -- paint a farm or comprehensive picture of the scope and depth of this problem. with his bill, instead of having campus security and local police debate jurisdiction after a sexual assault is reported,
1:54 pm
every college and university in the country would be required to have a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement to clearly delineate responsibilities. when you go and see that confidential adviser, he or she will be able to tell that survivor what his or her options are. this is the campus route, this is the criminal justice route, there will be no confusion and she will know exactly what happens under each process. instead of a survivor feeling like he has to go public with the details of her rape, to capture her schools attention, with his bill, she now has a dignified have to justice without having to broadcast the details of the worst nightmare of her life in public and on the cover of "the new york times." i urge my colleagues to support this critically important bill. i believe we have responsibility to keep our young men and women safe on campus. for the record, i have a number
1:55 pm
of letters that i would like to introduce. i have one from the american federation of teachers and one from the anti-sexual violence organization rain, one from the state university of new york and 60 colleges and universities that have read this that have endorsed this bill and i have one from the representatives from the louisiana legislature or a version of the safety act recently passed into law and i have another one from the student advocacy organization called safer. thank you again for your attention and dedication and thank you to all the members who came to this hearing. >> thank you for your testimony and those letters will be entered into the record without objection. senator ayotte -- >> thank you. i want to thank chairman alexander as well for his focus on this issue. i know many members of this committee have already become cosponsors of our bill and have been really does on this issue.
1:56 pm
we are appreciative of your attention today. i'm deeply honored to be here with my colleagues and this has been an important process of continuing to seek feedback on making sure we are looking at the best practices that occur around the country and also solving some of the worst problems we have seen and inconsistencies we cap seen around the country so thank you all for your leadership on this. i think this is an example of how members of both parties can work together when you see the strong bipartisan support for this bill and also the strong bipartisan message that this hearing sense today -- that we all appreciate that every student deserves a safe environment on campus so that students can focus on learning instead of being victims of crime or feeling they have to be in fear. that is really what we want to accomplish and give the proper tools and focus on this incredibly important issue.
1:57 pm
cap us sexual assault is a serious public safety issue that has impacted every state in this nation including my home state of new hampshire. like senator heller, in order to hear directly from stakeholders, i have held roundtables and discussions on this issue at dartmouth college, saint and college andelm bringing together students and survivor advocacy groups and campus administration and law enforcement to talk about these issues in different size colleges with different challenges. in new hampshire, we have seen some positive developments when it comes to ensuring that survivors receive support on campus. i think this national discussion has forced many colleges to really focus on this issue. i think having a hearing like this also causes our campuses to re-examine this issue. for example, having met with local law enforcement and
1:58 pm
administrators and students at dartmouth college in hanover, i know they are engaged in a process and committed to change at dartmouth. i have also had very candid conversations with the administration there. the dartmouth community has struggled with this issue and there is much more work to do. i am very encouraged that dartmouth recently formalized a relationship with the local rape crisis center to provide confidential services to survivors of campus sexual assault. in durham at the university of new hampshire, they have done some nationally recognized work for their rape prevention. much of the focus of our legislation is to ultimately bring campus communities throughout the nation in line with some of the efforts we have seen at unh. the police chief there proudly characterizes unh's multiple responses as a conspiracy of care for the students at unh.
1:59 pm
as a former attorney general for my state, no crimes of sexual assault are very serious crimes and need to be handled by law enforcement if victims choose to pursue that route. however, for a variety of reasons, these crimes are vastly underreported. and often unreported. our bill seeks to foster a more cooperative environment between schools and local law enforcement by requiring colleges and universities to enter what senator gillibrand said in her memorandum of understanding with the entity that has jurisdiction to report and investigate crimes on campus. the goal of the mou is to foster a dialogue between the school and law enforcement before a serious incident takes place which delineates responsibility and requires appropriate information sharing and that can ensure that survivors who come forward and choose to report a
2:00 pm
crime to law enforcement that the crime is properly investigated and can ensure that an accused individual has a clear understanding of what their rights are in this process as well. we know that too many of these crimes go unreported on campus. that is why it is so critical this piece of the confidential adviser so victims know with her -- what their options are and that they know there is someone who can represent them in this process and can let them know what their options are they choose to report to law enforcement and what will happen during the administrative process. these two provisions i think are critical as you look at this bill. unfortunately, one other issue that came up during the course of bringing people together around this -- i know senator

33 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on