With a growing senior population, it's nice to know there are organizations that offer them the opportunity to remain active – and be contributors – to the community.

Senior citizens clubs in various towns have long been valuable resources. The Slatington Senior Citizens Club, in fact, has been thriving force in their region for over half a century.

Events such as health fairs, the Carbon County's senior games and volunteer organizations are good places for seniors to mingle and feel a connection to their communities.

The TIMES NEWS also recognizes our seniors as a vital resource, regularly offering informative columns such as Senior Highlights and The Healthy Geezer.

Thankfully, there are many seniors who can still contribute to the workforce. As more Baby Boomers enter their golden years over the next two years, it's estimated that Pennsylvania's most experienced workers – those aged 45 to 64 – will make up 40 percent of the state's labor force, a significant jump over the last decade.

Realizing this growing trend, state officials would like to recognize employers for creating employment opportunities for workers 55 and older. In recognition of its efforts to hire and train older workers, an employer will be selected for the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame of Champions of Older Workers.

Given this difficult job environment, it's heartening to know that some companies are maintaining a percentage of workers over 55. In order to accommodate their older workers, others are offering more flexible hours in the work schedule.

John Michael Hall, Secretary of Aging, says that mature workers are a tremendous asset to Pennsylvania businesses because they work hard and care about doing a good job.

"Smart employers recognize the value of this important and growing segment of the working population," he said.

Now it's time to recognize those companies that offer seniors the best opportunities to contribute to the workforce.

Note: Nomination forms are available at www.aging.state.pa.us [1] and must be submitted by Dec. 3. The winner will be honored next spring. For information about the Department of Aging, visit www.aging.state.pa.us [1] or call (717) 783-1549.

Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com [2]