Previously as a youth, now as a senior George Autobee continues to lead
George Autobee has been quoted as saying he considers himself a soldier “doing his job and doing it well.” Now in his 70s, Autobee continues to do his job and do it well, something that is a continuing trend in the U.S. workforce among seniors.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly twice as many workers aged 65 or older are employed currently than teenage workers. The labor participation market for seniors is also at its highest level since the 1960s when legislation provided a smoother path to retirement for seniors through social security and health benefits.
Autobee is no longer an anomaly in the U.S. workforce, but a trendsetter.
Born and raised in Pueblo, Autobee joined the Marine Corps after high school and was quickly shipped to battle in Vietnam in July 1968. During his 16 months of service on the island in the Asian Pacific, Autobee was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart medal for his efforts. Those efforts were merely a stepping-stone for the man who is now a cornerstone of his Pueblo community. He would go on to graduate from the University of Southern Colorado in 1973 and earn his master’s degree in urban regional planning from the University of Northern Colorado.
After a tenured career working for city government in Pueblo and in Governor Richard Lamm’s administration as an evaluator of the Headstart and other poverty programs, Autobee returned to the Army Reserves first in its 10th Mountain Division before serving as a medic for eight years in the Army Reserve Medical Corp. 406th Combat Division. Governor Ray Romer then appointed Autobee to the Latin American Trade Advisory Committee, where Autobee gained the knowledge and business acumen he needed to open his business World Demographic Research, LLC.
Established in 1990, World Demographic Research is a service-oriented, small business research company that has been developing and selling customer census based economic business research studies. These studies cover the nation, states and cities for different ethnic chambers of commerce.
Some of the company’s clients include the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce, and the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Aside from establishing World Demographic Research, where is he still Founder and CEO, Autobee also did consulting work with the American GI Forum as a coordinator for their events. The GI Forum continues to serve various needs of Hispanic veterans from education and housing to medical needs as well.
Though a hard-working senior, Autobee offers this advice to younger generations and they begin to embark on their own path:
“Get your college degree and go for a commission in the military,” he said. “The military is a great way to go. Get commissioned, be an officer, there are great benefits.”
The “Silver Tsunami” in Pueblo
The participation rate of seniors in the work force is not new news and many experts expected the trend as far back as 2010 as the country began to rebound from the recession era of 2007-2009. The “Silver Tsunami” as experts have dubbed the growth in baby boomer population, is in full force in Colorado and is expected to change the overall demographics for a state that has been “young” for generations. Pueblo is playing a big part in that change as it has become a hub for retired and working seniors in Colorado.
According to the US Census Bureau between 2000 and 2010, for the first time in state history, the 65-and-older population grew at a faster rate than the state population: 32 percent compared to 17 percent. Population demographics for Pueblo in 2016 and 2017 projections show that of the 62,972 family-led homes in Pueblo County over 26 percent are led by seniors 55 years and older, many of which are still participants in the city and county’s work force.