HOUSTON (Aug. 10, 2020)—Harris Health System has received its first national and third consecutive state Employer of Older Workers Award from the National Veterans Employment and Education Commission of The American Legion. Harris Health is the only healthcare provider to receive this prestigious award that recognizes employers for their efforts in hiring highly-qualified older men and women.
“Harris Health is fortunate to benefit from highly dedicated and knowledgeable older individuals and veterans who contribute on a daily basis to support the high-quality patient care we provide to the residents of Harris County,” says Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, president and CEO, Harris Health System.
During the award’s reporting period, Harris Health employed nearly 1,966 individuals age 55 or older — of which, 1,903 had five years or more of experience working at Harris Health. Additionally, of the employees age 55 and older, 510 are military veterans.
“Elder workers enrich our entire workforce sharing their experience through mentoring and training,” says Omar C. Reid, senior vice president, Human Resources, Harris Health. “Many of our elder workers have spent decades at Harris Health, which is a testament to their commitment to serve those most in need. We thank the American Legion for this recognition and we continue our commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Harris Health collaborates on a number of job fairs and career networking opportunities for veterans and diverse professionals with several partners including the Texas Medical Center, Texas Veterans Commission, BakerRipley, Workforce Solutions, American GI Forum, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the city of Houston Office of Veterans Affairs. Annually, Harris Health participates in the statewide “Hiring Red, White & You” for veteran recruits.
“Showcasing the great work of Harris Health and its recruitment of a diverse workforce is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” says Elle Pallugna, program manager, Talent Acquisition, Harris Health and system representative during the awards ceremony at The American Legion’s 100th annual convention held in San Antonio. “The recognition by The American Legion acknowledges Harris Health for supporting our employees and the veteran workforce in our community.”
In 1958, The American Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Commission expanded its employer awards program by creating an award for employers of older workers. The commission saw older workers as a valuable economic resource of proven skills, stability and experience, and it wanted to encourage employers to hire and retain older workers in the workforce. National “Employ the Older Worker Week” was established by The American Legion and is observed during the last full week of September.