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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 19, 2008

CONTACT
Marla Augustine, Communications & Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047, marla.augustine@dhhs.ne.gov

 

Nebraska Celebrates Employ Older Workers Week

Lincoln – In an effort to highlight the contributions of the senior members of Nebraska’s workforce, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is preparing to mark Employ Older Workers Week during the coming week.

The U. S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2014, more than 41% of Americans 55 or older will be participating in the workforce, making up over 21% of the workforce.

"Almost two-thirds of the Department of Health and Human Services workforce are either eligible to retire now or could retire within the next 10 years," said Vivianne Chaumont, Director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care. "As our population and work force ages, older workers are increasingly desired as employees for their experience and reliability."

J. Blaine Runner was named Nebraska’s 2008 Outstanding Older Worker by the Nebraska Older Workers Partnership. He attended a proclamation signing ceremony recently where Gov. Dave Heineman proclaimed September 21-27 as Employ the Older Worker Week in Nebraska to raise awareness about the contributions and value of older workers. Runner, 79, is a rancher in the Sand Hills of Cherry County. He has had a pilot’s license for over 64 years and still flies. He will represent Nebraska at a ceremony honoring older workers in Washington, D.C.

Employ the Older Worker Week has been observed nationally for more than 40 years, with the American Legion sponsoring the observance in honor of the contributions older workers make to the economy.

In signing the proclamation, Gov. Heineman noted the extraordinary work ethic of older employees and encouraged all employers and community leaders to expand job opportunities for and actively recruit older workers.

"Older workers bring enthusiasm, experience and knowledge to the work place, and many employers have discovered that their work ethic is an asset and inspiration," said the Governor.

A variety of activities to promote the older worker and Employ the Older Worker Week are sponsored by DHHS, Nebraska Workforce Development/ Department of Labor, Nebraska Older Workers Council, Experience Works, American Association of Retired Persons, Area Agencies on Aging, American Legion and other groups.

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CAPTION FOR ATTACHED PHOTO: Honored at the Employ the Older Workers’ Week proclamation signing on September 11 was J. Blaine Runner (center), named Nebraska’s 2008 Outstanding Older Worker by the Nebraska Older Workers Partnership. Runner is shown with his wife Betty, and Governor Dave Heineman. Runner was cited as a steward of the land, where he ranches in the Sand Hills of Cherry County. At age 79, he has had a pilot’s license for over 64 years and still flies. Runner will travel to Washington, D.C., to represent older workers at an awards ceremony.