Bank of America Merrill Lynch is increasing its educational efforts about longevity issues with a new training program for companies that are part of the BoA Merrill Lynch retirement plan and benefits programs, the company announced Monday.

The new program was announced at the White House Conference on Aging. It is open to human resources and benefit plan professionals at the 35,000 companies where BoA Merrill Lynch provides retirement and benefit plans.

Developed in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, the BoA Merrill Lynch Longevity Training Program is designed to drive greater awareness and understanding of the evolving needs of the nation’s aging population and their families.

“Designing benefits programs and delivering financial guidance to employees today requires a profound appreciation for the longevity revolution and a deeper understanding of issues associated with aging,” says Andy Sieg, head of Global Wealth and Retirement Solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Providing HR professionals greater access to this knowledge can help them better connect with employees as they progress through their careers and toward their later years.”

Participants must complete five hours of training over four to eight weeks, delivered through a combination of on-demand videos featuring USC professors, online courses and reference materials, and web-based best practice presentations. Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate from USC.

“Increased longevity leads to longer retirements, changing health care choices, more housing transitions and many other challenges to financial security,” says Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “As more people reach retirement age, there needs to be deeper knowledge inside every company regarding the realities of longevity in order to engage in relevant and supportive discussions with employees about their goals and concerns.”

The introduction of this program follows a financial gerontology program rolled out in April for Merrill Lynch’s 14,000 financial advisors to provide them with greater knowledge of and appreciation for various aspects of aging.