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Four Recognized for Contributions to an Aging Workforce; NC Celebrates Employ the Older Worker Week

Awards go out to residents, businesses in Wilson County, Raleigh, Gastonia and Chapel Hill

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
For Release: Immediate
Date: September 24, 2012
Contact: Lori Waltson, 919-855-4840 or lori.walston@dhhs.nc.gov

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, in recognition of Employ the Older Worker Week Sept. 23-29, announces the recipients of four older worker and employer awards.

The recipients and their awards are as follows:

  • Van Phan with the Wilson County Manager’s Office received the Mark M. Sabula Award;
  • Sherlene Parker of Second Chance Computers in Raleigh received the Ann B. Johnson Award; and
  • Gastonia’s Salvation Army Center of Hope was the non–profit organization awarded the Victor W. Marshall Award while Roses of Chapel Hill was the private business recipient.

By 2025 a projected 85 counties in North Carolina will have more people age 60 and older than people 17 and younger. In North Carolina, DHHS and other workforce development partners administer the national Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which works to improve the economic security and well-being of older workers through employment and training assistance. This program along with the Division of Workforce Solutions, AARP-NC, the UNC Institute on Aging, and national and state sponsors established three awards to honor North Carolina’s older workforce.

Van Phan, the Mark M. Sabula Award: The Sabula Award recognizes the contributions of SCSEP participants for their dedicated efforts to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the workplace. Mr. Phan greets citizens, manages phone calls and assists wherever needed at the Wilson County Manager’s Office. Mr. Phan immigrated to the United States from Vietnam, and while language has been a barrier, his colleagues say he has an upbeat personality and demonstrates a strong work ethic and dependability. He is known as a dedicated father whose children are attending college, and he also tutors children and others in math.

The award is named for Mark M. Sabula, a former SCSEP coordinator at DHHS’s Division of Aging and Adult Services, who passed away in 2002.

Sherlene Parker, the Ann B. Johnson Award: The Johnson Award recognizes the contributions of older workers for their special qualities and work ethic in the workplace. Ms. Parker works as a floor and office manager at Second Chance Computers in Raleigh. After difficult personal circumstances left her with few marketable skills, Ms. Parker started over. She developed advanced, hands-on technical skills and now refurbishes computer equipment for low-cost resale to families in need. Ms. Parker has five children and is able to help raise, feed and educate several of her 15 grandchildren. Many who know her say they are inspired by her can-do outlook that gives hope to others searching for a better life.

The award is named for Ann Johnson, a longtime activist and advocate for aging issues in North Carolina who worked until she was 70 (and long after as a volunteer). She also served as chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.

The Victor W. Marshall Award: The Marshall Award recognizes an employer in the state that has excelled in recognizing the valuable contribution older workers make in the workforce, and this year both a non-profit employer and a private sector business were recognized.

The non-profit recipient is the Salvation Army Center of Hope in Gastonia. The Salvation Army provides training and job responsibilities for older workers and has hired 56 percent of the SCSEP participants that were placed with it for training.

This year’s private employer recipient is Roses of Chapel Hill. Roses of Chapel Hill has shown commitment to hiring, developing the talent of and retaining older workers. Nearly 50 percent of its employees are seniors. The company provides a benefits package which includes job-sharing, leave for doctors’ appointments and flexible scheduling.

The award was named after former director of the UNC Institute on Aging, Dr. Victor Marshall, who developed an extensive research program on the aging of the labor force that included an examination of the changing retirement transition and its impact on health. He was also the U.S. Team Leader of the Workforce Aging in the New Economy project (WANE), a multi-national collaboration studying workforce aging and employment trends in the information technology field.

For more information about the SCSEP or to nominate someone for an award, visit http://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/scsep.htm.

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