The Older Kansans Employment Program will connect businesses with those seeking employment.

Retirement for a lot of people means changing one job for another. Sometimes finding that job can be a challenge. A program is under development to help connect businesses needing employees with seniors that want to continue working after retirement.

Prairie Independent Living Resource Center is using the Older Kansans Employment Program to establish a link between businesses and seniors seeking employment, said Tom Harrison of PILR.

Right now, PILR is just getting this program underway and is seeking businesses to take part. They have received a grant to establish in the six counties they serve including Pratt, Harper, Kingman, McPherson, Reno and Rice Counties.

The grant was given to under served counties an each of the six counties fell into the under served category. From 29 percent to 30 percent of the population of those counties fit that age range, Harrison said.

Harrison wanted to get involved with this program because he retired from preaching and wanted something more to do. He got a job driving the public transportation bus at Retired and Senior Volunteer Program but he wanted to do more than that. When he went looking for more to do, he found out age was a factor.

“I started reaching out but they looked at me differently because of my age,” Harrison said.

So he got involved with PILR and started working on this program in August.

“We’re talking to whoever will listen,” Harrison said. “We’re working on outreaches to businesses to offer employment to people who want to be employed.”

Hiring older Kansans can benefit businesses, according to research from the American Association of Retired Persons. Their data shows that older citizens have soft skills the younger people sometimes lack. Those skills include showing up for work on time and doing more than they are paid to do. Older workers can help younger workers develop those skills, Harrison said.

“There’s an advantage to what we can give the business,” Harrison said.

These jobs can be full time, part time or seasonal. Some companies Harrison has visited with say they need to hire more older employees to help improve the health of the company. Some businesses that have lagged behind in hiring older workers have discovered that hiring them is a positive thing for their company.

Harrison has been in contact with the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director Kim DeClue. They would like to develop a job club, a small group that works on job searches and DeClue is interested.

For now, everything is in the development stage. Any business seeking employees and any older citizen looking for work can contact Harrison at the Pratt PILR office at 620-672-9600.

“We’re just trying to find creative ways to get the word out,” Harrison said.