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Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE), link to Program Overview

Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) Program Overview

Program Summary

The Age Friendly Institute’s Certified Age Friendly Employer™ (CAFE) Program is a structured evaluation of employers’ human resource and management policies and practices relative to a known “Best Practices” model of organizations recognized for their commitment to retention and recruiting of age 50+ workers on an “age friendly” or age-neutral basis.

Certification Purpose

The purpose of the Certified Age Friendly Employer program is to assist age 50+ job seekers by identifying those employers committed to objectively considering them for appropriate employment, free of ageism. Certified Age Friendly Employers employers want age 50+ candidates to know they are valued for their knowledge, experience, maturity, reliability and productivity.

Certification Evaluation Process

The Certification evaluation process is entirely confidential. Evaluations are performed exclusively by the Institute’s Research & Certification staff members who are highly experienced Human Resources professionals. The components of the process include (1) our independent research (Lexis/Nexis Law, IRS, ERISA, EEOC) and general public records; (2) phone or in person interviews to complete the Evaluation Worksheet; (3) and consideration of other related public recognition of the employer work environment. Recertification is completed every two years.

Best Practices Model

Research and evaluation of the recruiting, employment and human resources policies, practices and programs of recognized age friendly employers yields a model of their “best practices.” This “best practices” model is the basis of the Certification evaluation process and is adapted as appropriate to reflect industry-specific policies and practices. The twelve categories of “best practices” are:

  1. General Commitment and Workforce Policies
  2. Organization Culture and Employee Relations
  3. Workforce Planning and Composition
  4. Employee Retention
  5. Candidate Recruiting
  6. Management Style and Practices
  7. Training and Development
  8. Job Content and Process Accommodations
  9. Work Schedules, Arrangements and Time Off
  10. Compensation Programs
  11. Healthcare Benefits
  12. Savings and Retirement Benefits

General and industry-specific standards have been established for the “best practice” factors comprising the certification evaluation. Employers are evaluated as “Meets”, “Exceeds”, or “Does Not Meet” the established standard for each factor during a collaborative work session.

Certification and Recognition

The primary certification granted by the Institute is Certified Age Friendly Employer. This certification is issued following successful completion of the initial Certification evaluation by Institute staff. Certified employers will be identified on our website, other sites such as Age Friendly Advisor (, and cited in publicity material. Employers are permitted to use the Certification seal on other job posting sites and in their employment-related material.


Employers seeking to receive the Certified Age Friendly Employer designation are eligible for consideration for an application fee to cover the cost of evaluation.

Certification Validation

The Certified Age Friendly Employer designation process has been examined by The Foundation’s independent Board of Advisors, comprised of leading academics and professionals, and has been determined to fairly and accurately assess appropriate employer “best practices” for workers age 50 and older. The Age Friendly Employer Certification factors and process will evolve and be updated continuously. The program, which began in 2006, has been recognized by AARP and the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. More than 100 of the largest U.S. employers have earned the designation.

Certification Application & Scheduling: Donna Richey,
Certification Processing: Camille Grabowski,