Special to the HDN

The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Older Worker Task Force will have the annual Older Worker Awards ceremony April 9. The department is accepting nominations for the awards.

The event honors older workers who continue to play an important role in the Kansas workforce and economy, as well as their employers. Honorees will include older workers who are employed in both public- and private-sector jobs, and businesses and companies that regularly employ workers age 55 and older. U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show more than 6.5 million people age 65 and older remain in the workforce -- a significant increase compared to previous years.

The ceremony will be 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 19 at the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Ave., Topeka.

Nominations for workers 55 and older and for companies that employ older workers are due March 18. Online forms can be found at kansascommerce.com/olderworkers. For more information about the ceremony or for details about the awards, contact Susan Weidenbach at (785) 296-7842 or sweidenbach@kansascommerce.com.

Nominations are accepted for three award categories:

* Outstanding Older Worker: Honors an older worker who demonstrates outstanding qualities of leadership, dedication and commitment. Nominations are open to the public. Nominees must be 55 years or older, residents of Kansas and working at least 20 hours a week in paid employment. Previous winners are not eligible.

* Oldest Worker: Celebrates the tenacity and fortitude of the experienced worker and is awarded on the basis of age of those working for pay. Previous winners are not eligible.

* Employer of the Older Worker Award: Honors a business that promotes, recruits, retains and develops positive and friendly work environments for older workers.