Value of older workers recognized

Value of older workers recognized September 24-28 is "Employ the Older Worker" week and is designed to emphasize the value and importance of Americans 55 and older.

Since 1965 the Green Thumb program has had as its vision "to be the national leader in older worker training, employment, and community service, and … to develop creative customer-focused solutions using the talents and skills of disadvantaged and older individuals to meet the needs of families, communities, and an aging population."

"The older worker is very valuable to employers, local businesses and non-profit agencies," states Karen Gibbs, field operations assistant for Clay, Union, Turner and Lincoln counties. The Green Thumb office is located in Vermillion and deals with service, employment, and training programs.

There are currently 11 participants in the program serving this four-county area. Participants work 20 hours per week at the federal minimum wage. An assessment is taken and they are placed in jobs where they can utilize their current skills as well as learn other skills.

The older worker has dependability, good attendance, mature judgement, expertise, lowest injury rate, willingness to learn new things, loyalty and a lifetime of experience.

Employers are very happy and satisfied because they have reliable and dedicated employees. It's a win-win situation for both participant and employer, according to national surveys.

Green Thumb offers on-the-job training for employers to train workers their way, classroom training to upgrade employee skills, and the opportunity for employers to provide a job setting and supervision for workers to update skills and learn new skills while gaining valuable work experience and a new self confidence, as well as a chance to be useful and productive.

For more information on Green Thumb, contact Gibbs at 605-677-6900 or write to Green Thumb, Inc., P.O. Box 351, Vermillion, SD 57069.

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