Golden Oldies
Government leaders tout value of senior employees as ‘Hire the Older Worker Week’ begins
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

Sulphur Springs Mayor Freddie Taylor declares Sept. 24, through Sept. 30, as "Hire The Older Worker Week." Shown left to right are (sitting) Mary White, Sandra Winchester, Mayor Freddie Taylor, Ann Morgan, Cindy Elder, (standing) Kathy York, Julio Herrera, Rose Peters, Mary Johnson, Alice Goforth, Rhonda Batchelor, Sue Jones and Mildred Vaden. The senior citizens, all participants of Experience Works Inc., a senior community service employment program, were on hand for the reading of the proclamation Monday morning at City Hall.

Staff Phot by Patti Sells

Mayor Freddie Taylor declared this week as "Hire The Older Worker Week" in a proclamation read Monday morning at City Hall with several senior citizens in attendance.

"Older workers can show the younger generation how work is really done. And in many cases, work circles around them," Taylor said. "They bring wisdom, experience, but most of all, dedication to the work place." 

The proclamation stressed the importance of recognizing the rich potential of mature workers and making the most of their knowledge and skills.

Gov. Rick Perry too has jumped on the band wagon recognizing that people are living longer, healthier and more productive lives contributing to the state's workforce system.

"To highlight the immense contributions that older workers make to our economy, and the continuing need to recruit workers from this excellent labor pool, an awareness campaign will be conducted during the month of October," Perry stated in a press release.

According to Taylor, seniors also bring strong work ethics to the work place. He feels that Texas businesses and industries must intensify efforts in support of older workers by investing in their resourcefulness and talents.

Experience Works Inc. is a community service employment program that provides training and employment opportunities to seniors. The program, formerly known as Green Thumb, has showcased senior's strengths, wisdom and productivity for the past 35 years, helping individuals find employment throughout Hopkins County.

"The program gives the community knowledge of our services," said Sue Jones, a participant in the program who works for Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap.

"We've had a lot of success with getting good personnel through the program for the past 20 years," said Millsap. "It's a good way to save the taxpayers money while utilizing a local program.

Often, the program provides non-profit organizations with part-time, committed workers who get paid by the federal government, according to Cindy Elder, also a participant in the program.

"A lot of times, that can lead to better paying jobs," she explained. "People just look at us like we ought to be home sitting in a rocking chair knitting."

"We're not lazy, and Social Security doesn't go very far," said Alice Goforth, also a working participant. 

"Seniors have energy and motivation to compete in today's fast-paced work environment," Taylor stated in the proclamation. "We must give them the opportunity to share their years of experience, handiwork and dedication."

Statistics show that the number of Texans age 55 and older are expected to triple by the year 2040. By 2008, approximately 40 percent of the labor force will be age 45 and older, with eight million more Americans 55 and older expected to join the workforce.

"All Texas are encouraged to recognize older workers with appreciation," Gov. Perry stated. "Highlighting the best of the Lone Star State, they make a difference, continuing to build a legacy of advancement and achievement, a legacy that will keep us strong for generations to come."

Taylor asks citizens to join in giving proper cognizance to the valuable services provided by senior citizens in the workforce.

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