The Grand Island Independent and its partners will be sponsoring the 50+ Expo at the Nebraska Building at Fonner Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.

Along with The Independent, also sponsoring the event are AARP, the Nebraska State Fair, Raising Nebraska, Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Department of Labor. Admission is free.

Don Smith, Independent publisher, said The Independent is pleased to partner in hosting an event “aimed at engaging an important sector of our community in living, learning and earning possibilities.”

“This will be a win for job seekers, for employers and for the community,” Smith said.

The 50+ Expo will include vendor booths from local businesses, along with a job fair featuring local employers looking for part-time experienced workers and informative speakers on subjects such as cybersecurity, healthy eating and how to travel on a shoestring budget.

Between the job fair and the vendors’ displays, there will be 40 booths at the expo. Among the area employers featured at the job fair are Crane Transportation, Bosselman and Grand Island Public Schools. Among the vendors are nursing and assisted living providers; YMCA; health coaching; OsteoStrong of Grand Island, featuring bone density scanning; CBD Oils; and Schrock Chiropractic & Acupuncture, featuring stem cell injections.

Randy Kissinger, regional manager for the Nebraska Department of Labor in Grand Island, is one of the expo’s organizers.

“The goal is to provide information, booths and entertainment to those individuals over 50 in ours and the surrounding communities,” Kissinger said.

He said Grand Island has low unemployment and the 50+ Expo is designed to expose individuals to the different job opportunities that are available in the community for older people.

“We have a large labor pool who are very functional and educated,” Kissinger said. “We want to expose them to our employers and our employers to them.”

He said older people bring a wealth of talent to the workforce.

“They bring experience, dedication, motivation, knowledge and patience,” Kissinger said.

Some older people collecting Social Security are also looking for part-time jobs to supplement their retirement income.

“We want to make them aware of the opportunities that are available in our community,” he said.

The expo will also provide educational instruction about how to look for jobs, whether it is in the classified section of the newspaper or online, along with how to apply for employment oppor-


For a lot of seniors, many worked in a job for 30 years or so before retiring and need a refresher course on how to apply for a job, especially online.

“We want to keep you in that industry that you are in or take that knowledge you have gained over the years and transfer those skills to another business that can use you or expose you to something completely different,” Kissinger said.

Speakers at the 50+ Expo include:

n 10 to 11 a.m.: “Safety in Numbers: Four Lessons in Cybersecurity,” by Ryan S. Sothan of the Nebraska attorney general’s office.

Sothan is the Consumer Protection Division’s education and outreach coordinator. He travels throughout Nebraska informing consumers about Internet safety, identity theft, senior fraud and a variety of other topics to help consumers protect themselves.

n 11 a.m. to noon: “Healthy Eating,” featuring Danielle Perry, a Hy-Vee dietitian.

Perry is Grand Island Hy-Vee’s registered dietitian and licensed medical nutrition therapist. She has always had a love for food and nutrition and how it can create connections, spread joy, support health, fuel exercise and optimize sports performance.

She is passionate about teaching people how to use the food they eat to live healthier, happier lives and believes the grocery store is the best classroom for learning how to practice healthy dietary habits.

Perry earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2014.

She then obtained her master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics with a sports nutrition emphasis in 2016 from the University of Utah, where she gained clinical nutrition experience at the University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Before joining the Hy-Vee team, Perry worked in the sports nutrition field, helping a variety of collegiate athletes at the University of Utah and the University of Georgia develop dietary habits to optimize both health and performance.

n Noon to 1 p.m.: Entertainment program

n 1 to 2 p.m.: “Travel on a Shoestring,” featuring Leslie Beltz, a travel agent for The Auto Club Group at 3359 W. Capital Ave.

Beltz has been a travel agent for more than 20 years, mostly at AAA in Grand Island.

She has had a lifelong love of travel and earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural geography.

“I grew up in the backseat of a car, and as an adult, I branched out traveling to England and traveling to several countries throughout Asia,” Beltz said.

Since coming to AAA nearly 20 years ago, she said, she has broadened her firsthand experiences in Europe.

“I also have extensive personal cruise experience (nearly 30) and hold Destination Specialist designations for Italy, Southern Europe, China, Mexico, the Caribbean, and several others,” Beltz said.

n 2 to 3 p.m.: Continuing education at Central Community College, featuring Judy Weston.

Weston has been a community education coordinator for 12 years. She has seen several people from a wide range of ages who attend community education classes.

“It is not unusual to see a wide range of ages in the classes and it can be anywhere from 6 years to 93 years,” she said. “Education is a continual process and is open to anyone who has a willingness to learn.”

Weston has been married for 40 years, is a mother to three children, has four grandchildren and assists with the care of her brother-in-law with Down syndrome.


I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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