Hard at work in an employee dining room at Yellowstone National Park, S.P. Lee, 79, dishes out a steady stream of jokes, banter and good cheer along with the scrambled eggs and fresh fruit he serves to his groggy fellow employees filing in to start their day.
Lee is at the forefront of a new group of aging workers, living longer, healthier, more mobile lives, who are redefining retirement by finding new jobs and new lifestyles in some of the nation's most scenic vacation spots. At Yellowstone National Park, once almost entirely staffed by college-age workers, about 20 percent of the workforce today is older than 50.
"We found the population of our typical entry-level worker, age 18 to 24, had decreased, and in order to stay alive, we had to start to turn over the rocks to find other employees," said Julie McCluskie, director of human resources for Amfac, which also operates park concessions at the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, Death Valley and Bryce Canyon, Utah. "We started to realize there was this resource at the other end of the age spectrum."
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