Flexibility Like Retention Gold Among Older Workers

Think part-time positions, varied workday schedules, and telecommuting are perks most cherished by workers in their 20s and 30s?

Think-tank Civic Ventures just awarded its first-ever BreakThrough Award, designed to shine a spotlight on the nonprofit and public sector organizations that are providing meaningful public interest jobs for people over 50.

The award, funded by MetLife Foundation, honors 10 nonprofits and public sector agencies located in large and small communities across the country.

It found that flexibility matters, including on-site child (and grandchild) care, labor union membership, and the ability to shape positions to fit skills and schedules.

Civic Ventures says employers that accommodated the schedules, commutes, and other needs of their workers were more effective at recruiting, hiring, using, and retaining employees.

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“BreakThrough Award winners are leading the way when it comes to bringing both money and meaning to longer working lives and serving as models for other organizations seeking to tap into this experienced talent pool,” said Phyllis Segal, vice president of Civic Ventures.

As a result, some winners report lower turnover rates and less absenteeism for employees over 50 compared with younger counterparts. (The announcement comes the same day as a report from The Conference Board about labor challenges facing nonprofits.)

Many will agree that society cannot afford to watch millions of skilled boomers disappear from the workforce, and it might just take offering new types of work on different terms with strong social benefits.

The winners, which include employers and organizations that match those over 50 to employment opportunities, are as follows:

  1. Allied Coordinated Transportation Services, Inc. Lawrence County, Pennsylvania-based employer of drivers over 50 to drive older adults, the sick and disabled, and children whose mothers are in welfare-to-work programs to appointments and to school.
  2. Leesburg Regional Medical Center and The Villages Regional Hospital. Based in central Florida, a healthcare provider that recruits and retains experienced hospital staff through flexible work schedules.
  3. Mature Worker Connection, a program of the Pima Council on Aging. Pima County, Arizona, placement service for workers over age 50 for flexible jobs. One-third of placements are in the nonprofit and public sectors.
  4. Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass, Inc. A Lexington, Kentucky-based employer of people over 50 in paid, part-time ombudsmen jobs to provide advocacy and support for residents in long-term care facilities.
  5. Older Workers Leading Success, a program of Cleveland Metroparks. Employs people over 50 in part-time or seasonal jobs within Cleveland, Ohio, MetroParks, the government agency that operates city parks and recreational facilities.
  6. Rainbow Intergenerational Child Care Program, a program of the Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Centers of Dade County. Engaging older adults as state-certified child-care workers for preschoolers in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.
  7. ReServe, Inc. Matches people over 50 with paying, part-time jobs in nonprofit and public sectors agencies in the New York City area.
  8. Retiree Work Opportunities Program, The University of California, Berkeley Retirement Center. ConnectsUC-Berkeley retirees — who have institutional knowledge and proven skills — with departments looking to fill part-time and temporary vacancies on campus.
  9. Troops to Teachers. A Washington, DC-based organization providing 10,000 retired service personnel opportunities for second careers as public school teachers.
  10. The YMCA of Greater Rochester. Located in Rochester, New York, hires employees over 50 in one of the country’s largest YMCAs. Older employees match the needs of older Y members and serve as mentors for younger staff.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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