Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Georgia DHS among ‘best employers for workers over 50’

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) was recently named among the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 by AARP. The agency demonstrated exemplary practices for recruiting, retaining and promoting older workers.

“We are extremely honored to receive an award which speaks to the core of our agency – our employees,” said B.J. Walker, DHS commissioner. “More than thirty-five percent of our employees are over the age of 50 and have an average tenure of more than 13 years. We take pride in their work ethics and all they have given to this agency and the people we serve.”

According to AARP, DHS has created and fostered a workplace that is supportive of the contributions older workers offer to the business community. DHS uses the Senior Community Service Employment Program to help train and place workers who are 55 years and older. The agency also works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to attract and recruit mature workers.

DHS offers an array of development opportunities for employees, including in-house classroom training, online training and certification classes. Last year, all DHS employees took part in at least one training opportunity, with the average employee receiving 52 hours of instruction. DHS also enables staff to participate in team projects, a formal mentoring program and extensive training.

DHS also incorporates employee opinion surveys into the decision-making process and has made changes, such as greater work flexibility. Full-time employees are eligible for a host of individual and family health and financial benefits, including long-term care and retirement planning. DHS also offers paid time off, unpaid time off and long-term leaves of absence for those employees with caregiving responsibilities.

More than 200 employers applied for the 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50 honors, the highest total in the nine-year history of the program designed to highlight exemplary policies toward employees over 50.

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