Retiree brunch connects retired people with employers

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 09, 2022

HELENA — The second retiree brunch by Helena WINS helped connect employers with retirees at the Double Tree in downtown Helena on Tuesday morning.

Helena WINS, an initiative of The Helena Area Chamber of Commerce, held its first retiree brunch back in February. The idea for the event came about when a report showed that about 61% of Montanans not in the workforce were retired.

According to an article in Montana Businesses Quarterly from October 2021, coming out of the pandemic Montana saw the highest percentage increase in job openings of any state, at 62%.

“I mean, you may finish all your house projects and enjoy time with the grand kids, but sometimes it's nice to meet new people and be out and do something for yourself. So, I think that there is that draw, as well as how expensive things are these days. It's always nice to have a little extra cash in your pocket,” says McKinley Winkle, Vice-president of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce & Director of Engagement and Advocacy.

For some, rejoining the workforce is a great way of staying busy and doing something productive.

For others, it can be a way of connecting and serving their community.

Additionally, a little extra cash, especially in light of recent inflation, isn’t too bad either.

The brunch works by hosting a group of job-seeking retirees and employers. Multiple employers spoke at the event on Tuesday including businesses such as Touchmark, Power Townsend, and First Student

Working part-time or even full-time as a retiree can be a great way to impart wisdom to younger generations and lend a helping hand in the community.

Jason Snarr, the Store Manager for The Home Depot in Helena, sees the value in hiring those who have years of experience.

“It’s just super amazing to, you know, have somebody that shows up and willing to share their experience and their knowledge with somebody else,” says Snarr.

After working for nearly 30 years as a schoolteacher, and then having about 6 months of retirement, Tirzah Bruski began looking for a part-time job. After attending the first retiree brunch, Bruski found a part-time job in the garden center at The Home Depot.

“A lot of time on my hands, I had retired. My husband is still employed, my youngest moved away to college. So, I had a lot of time and I wanted to find something to fill my afternoons,” says Bruski.

Helena WINS plans to make these Retiree Brunches a bi-annual event. The next one should take place in February of 2023.