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In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about the need for more age-friendly employers, the impact of technology on the workforce, efforts to improve IT within federal agencies, and the importance of standardized data in addressing social determinants.

1. Why more employers may become age-friendly 

A low unemployment rate and an aging population may force employers to be become more supportive of employees over 50. As reported by Forbes, a recent study showed many businesses lack benefits specifically of interest to an older population. Recommendations for becoming more age-friendly include offering job training/reskilling, including age as a part of the organization’s diversity statement, creating multi-generational teams, and removing age bias from job descriptions and applications.

2. Don’t fear a ‘robot apocalypse’ – tomorrow’s digital jobs will be more satisfying and higher-paid   

There are differing views about the impact automation and artificial intelligence will have on the workforce. However, a recent study, outlined in GCN, found employees in jobs with higher IT intensity earned more than their peers and rated the quality of those jobs higher in areas such as career advancement. The author argues that we need to make jobs “robot-proof” by designing them to take advantage of digital skills.

3. GAO calls on GSA’s Centers of Excellence to help build Innovation Lab

The General Services Administration’s Centers of Excellence (CoE) will partner with the Government Accountability Office to launch their Innovation Lab, according to FedScoop. The CoE will assist with the backend IT development process, as part of an ongoing effort to help other federal agencies improve their IT modernization. 

4. Social determinants of health limited by low EHR interoperability

A recent survey labeled social determinants of health and behavioral health data as the hardest to share across health information exchanges. EHR Intelligence reports that interoperability and a lack of standards for capturing and representing data remain major barriers for health systems. Several organizations have taken on the challenge of promoting and streamlining health data exchange, but it remains a work in progress.

5. Looking for ‘balance,’ US Digital Service team adapts to changes at VA 

Over the past six months, members of the US Digital Service team at the Department of Veterans Affairs have integrated into the Office of the CTO. According to FedScoop, the merger follows the expiration of the Digital Service’s charter to operate as a satellite agency, and the issuance of a report critical of the VA. Officials at the VA say the move was not a snap decision, but rather a reflection that the agency is ready to scale up their digital efforts.