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Celebrating Older Workers Week

Receptionist Emelia Mosbrucker applies labels to files at the Southwestern District Health Unit on Monday morning. She credits Experience Works for helping her obtain the position.

Anyone who has ever called or visited the Southwestern District Health Unit in Dickinson has likely spoken to receptionist Emelia (Emy) Mosbrucker.

Working 20 hours a week, she answers the phone, greets visitors, sorts the mail and assists the staff with a variety of office tasks.

At the age of 71, Mosbrucker is among the individuals who are being recognized during National Employ Older Workers Week.

The week also showcases the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low income adults get the training they need to find good jobs in their community, according to a press release.

"Because of the current economic situation, many older people are finding it necessary to work longer, look for new jobs or return to work after retirement," said Shirley Stuart, state director for Experience Works. "This week recognizes the vital role older workers play in this country's workforce."

Experience Works is the nonprofit organization that operates the SCSEP in North Dakota.

As of August, there were nearly 2 million Americans age 55 and older unemployed and looking for work, up 69 percent from the same time last year, said Stuart.

"Finding a job is especially difficult for older people who might have been out of the job search process for several years and are not familiar with current resume styles or the process of applying for jobs online," she said.

Older job seekers may also lack technical and computer skills required in today's workplace.

Experience Works helps older people with technical and skills training, the job search process and finding appropriate training assignments. The goal is to provide participants with the skills to transition from their community service assignments to regular employment.

Mosbrucker is among the participants who have made the transition.

Prior to employment with the health unit, she was a housewife (married to Lawrence Mosbrucker) and operated a day care. Because of a disability at the age of 62, it became difficult for her to lift the babies. She sought help from Job Service.

"I asked if there were any jobs available for people like me -- older with a slight disability," she said.

Mosbrucker was referred to Experience Works for training -- computer skills, how to fill out a resume and how to complete a job application.

She was matched with the Southwestern District Health and worked under the umbrella of Experience Works for two years.

For a time, she exceeded Experience Works eligibility requirements and stopped working. Learning the eligibility requirements were changed, she returned to the health unit. She has been there ever since, now working independently from the program.

"If it weren't for Experience Works, I would not be here," she said. "I didn't have the skills I needed even if I had a desire."

"I never dreamt that at this age I'd be working, but if you want anything extra, you need to work," she added.

Health unit staffer Rex Herring described Mosbrucker as very dedicated and a hard worker.

Director of Nursing Doreen Ott said of Mosbrucker, "Emy does a wonderful job. She really picks up on all the little jobs here."

For more information regarding Experience Works, visit the Web site, or call 800-450-5627.