In recognition of National Employ Older Workers Week, the MassHire Cape and Islands Workforce Board presented Age Forward Employer Awards to three local organizations at an awards ceremony held at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis this morning.

The Age Forward Employer Awards recognize organizations that do an outstanding job of recruiting, engaging and retaining workers over age 55. Workers over age 55 make up over 30% of the Cape and Islands workforce—a percentage predicted to grow as many over 65 seek to re-enter the workplace. Local businesses that understand the strengths, preferences and needs of our aging workforce have an edge when competing for talent in a tight labor market.

This year’s award winners are Orleans Auto Supply, Town of Dennis Council on Aging and Senior Center and Cupcake International/Oz Cape Cod. Some of the best practices highlighted in their applications were flexible scheduling to accommodate classes or volunteer commitments, modifying jobs to utilize workers’ strengths, “soft” or phased retirement options, on-going training opportunities and opportunities for lateral transfers to further develop skills. These best practices and others will be highlighted in a video documentary produced by MassHire Cape and Islands Career Center and scheduled for release via YouTube and social media later this year.

When contacted about the award, Brenda Lee, proprietor of Cupcake International and Oz of Cape Cod, said, “I see our employees as people with a 2/2wealth of experience. We try to have fun every day and our employees value the camaraderie of work. I am very blessed with the wonderful people who work with our companies.”

This year’s winners represent the resiliency of our region’s business community and illustrate its ability to adapt to emerging trends. “Each small business is unique,” notes Workforce Board Executive Director David Augustinho. “But we hope that by shining a spotlight on what works for these Age Forward employers, we will encourage others to make changes in how they relate to those job seekers over 55.”

Nominations for the award were solicited in the Cape Cod Times and on-line from customers, employees and business owners themselves. Nominees were then asked to complete a questionnaire detailing their personnel practices in arenas important to older workers: scheduling, benefits, training and retirement. Winners were chosen by a panel of experts in workforce development and human resource management.

Nominations for the 2019 Age Forward Employer Awards will take place in May and June.

The Age Forward Employer Awards is a joint initiative of the MassHire Cape and Islands Workforce Board, MassHire Cape and Islands Career Center and Elder Services of Cape Cod & Islands, and co-sponsored by the Cape Cod Times. Initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor over 50 years ago, National Employ Older Workers Week is celebrated during the last full week in September.