By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Corporation for Aging held its annual Mature Workers Task Force award breakfast this morning, at the end of “National Employ Older Workers Week.”

The tables were full at the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union Hall, on Delaware Avenue in South Philadelphia.  In attendance were many members of the task force, which consists of nine organizations that help senior workers stay in the workforce or get back in.

Pennsylvania’s secretary of aging, Brian Duke, gave the keynote address.

“We’re ranked as the fourth ‘grayest’ state,” Duke told KYW Newsradio afterward.   “It’s looked at in terms of percentage of population. Statistics tell us that the number of older people are going to be with us for a while in Pennsylvania.”

He added that these times of economic uncertainty provide opportunity.

“We have older workers who can contribute a lot to employers or potential employers throughout the Delaware Valley region,” he said. “I want to be here to encourage them to stay in the workforce and/or re-enter the workforce if they have to or if they desire.”

One of those honored was Al Flowers.

“My main goal is to serve. I’ve done a lot of things that I can’t really say that I’m proud of, but now I can actually say that I’m giving something back to the community,” he said.

Flowers spent 30 years behind bars in Louisiana.  During that time he became interested in the legal field, and that would eventually lead to educational and work opportunities.  He got a foot in the door through a local attorney, and now works as an employment specialist at Connection Training Services, helping those he can relate with.

“I just went forward, and that’s what I try to show a lot of the guys that I work with today,” he said. “I use myself as an example about my age and everything, because they’re younger than me. You can do this!  If I can do it, you can do it!”


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