It is important for older workers to have the skills necessary to remain competitive in an increasingly technologically advanced labor market. Phyllis Cummins, PhD Assistant Director of Research and Senior Research Scholar

Research Spotlight

About Phyllis

Phyllis Cummins is interested in workforce issues for older workers, including examination of the benefits of ongoing training and workforce development and the role publicly sponsored training programs play in facilitating work at older ages.

After a successful 26-year career as Chief Appraiser for Prudential Financial and a brief retirement to an idyllic island in Florida, Phyllis Cummins returned to college to pursue an interest in exercise and fitness with a BS in Human Performance. “In my internships at Florida Gulf Coast University, I found I really enjoyed working with older adults, so the next logical step was to pursue their gerontology master’s program. About the same time, I was completing the program we decided to leave Florida and moved to Ohio.” The desire to complete a doctoral program in gerontology led her to Miami University.

Her interest in older adult workforce issues was kindled while writing a paper on the topic for Robert Applebaum’s Policy Analysis in an Aging Society course. Phyllis discovered that “when older workers became unemployed, they were unemployed for very long periods of time as compared to younger workers.” Discovering the reasons behind this inequality, and exploring how educators and policymakers might address this problem has become the driving force behind her research.

Phyllis’s research projects at Scripps Gerontology Center focus on impediments to older adults’ desires to remain productive in the workforce. She wants to answer questions such as-- How can training programs meet the needs of older workers? What supports do older students need to be successful in college that may be different from younger adults? What causes employment inequality and puts people at risk for economic insecurity in retirement? She is shining a light on these issues by sharing the results of her research commissioned papers, conference presentations, and journal articles.

When asked what she envisions as her legacy at Scripps she shared, “Bringing to the attention of educators and policymakers the importance of the older worker for Ohio’s economic growth.”

Phyllis’s research publications on the Scripps website have been downloaded 1677 times!
Her 2015 commissioned paper, Adult Education and Training Programs for Older Adults in the U.S.: National Results and Cross-National Comparisons Using PIAAC Data, has been downloaded 690 times.