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Retirement, Purpose, Functionality And Re-Employment For Older Workers In America

Hi, all. This is Lenise. I am a new volunteer with AARP Illinois and I'm going to try my hand at blogging. Here is my first post. Tell me what you think.


One story I wish would go viral is a story about the Vita Needle company that aired on  a week or so ago. The story highlights people who are working at 78 years old and beyond.  The Vita Needle Company manufacturers reusable needles for veterinary applications and for all kinds of industrial purposes.  Most importantly, this company has not always hired retired people - but now they do. The Vita Needle Company was founded in 1932 during the Great Depression. Located in Needham, Massachusetts in an old drama hall/former theater building built circa 1920, Vita employs 35 people and 95% of them are part-time older workers.

One employee, who is 93, has been with the company for 9 years; another is 86 and has been with the company for more than 17 years. A "newbie" at  78 years young joined the company just two years ago. What makes this business model work? This generation can exit the mainstream workforce and free up the job market for those young college degree-toting 20-somethings; yet their experience, skills, and expertise are valued at companies like Vita. Many of the workers there have a strong desire to remain active, and with the rising cost of, well, everything, the additional income doesn't hurt.

This concept of "re-employment"  is something the McDonalds Corporation has done for a long time, and it's duplication-worthy! Not all corporations can adopt this concept, but more should try it. Perhaps many jobs that have been outsourced could find their way back home.

To read more about this concept check out this book:  The Older Worker Advantage: “Making the Most of an Aging Workforce by Gordon F. Shea and Adolf Haasen.

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