AARP's 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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This biennial recognition program honors companies and organizations who value the 50+ workforce.


1. Cornell University

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

Industry: Education/Post-Secondary

Location: Ithaca, N.Y.

URL: www.cornell.edu

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: In 2009, Cornell University marks its fifth straight year on the list of AARP's Best Employers for Workers Over 50. Job advancement at Cornell is formalized in the university's Qualified Employees Seeking Transfer, or "QUEST" program, which is a performance-based arrangement designed to help employees identify opportunities for internal transfers.


2. First Horizon National Corporation

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

Industry:Financial Services

Location: Memphis, Tenn.

URL: www.firsthorizon.com

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: Celebrating its seventh consecutive year on AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50, First Horizon emphasizes leadership and training for its employees. The company offers numerous leadership courses and encourages all employees to recognize their peers' accomplishments via the Firstpower Line program. First Horizon continuously uses feedback from workers to amend or create new benefits programs, including a vacation-donation program and parental leave.


3. National Institutes of Health

Winning Years: 2009, 2008

Industry:Federal Government

Location: Bethesda, Md.

URL: www.nih.gov

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: This year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes a return appearance to the AARP Best Employers list after premiering in 2008.

The many benefits and opportunities available to employees through the NIH Recreation and Welfare Association have promoted an active workforce and an active retiree group. R&W supports more than 30 clubs, including photography, bicycling, and skiing, and administers volunteer activities, such as NIH Charities, Camp Fantastic, and Children's Inn.


4. The YMCA of Greater Rochester

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

Industry: Private – Nonprofit

Location: Rochester, N.Y.

URL: www.rochesterymca.org

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: The YMCA of Greater Rochester is in its fifth straight year of making AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. Retirees have the opportunity to participate in a formal phased-retirement program while continuing to receive their pension benefits. Rehired retirees are also able to keep collecting payments from their retirement-savings plans. Retirees age 65+ receive all the same health benefits as their currently working counterparts and many of the same wellness benefits. The company also engages employees through its Mentoring Across Generations program.


5. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Winning Years: 2009, 2008

Industry:Not for Profit - Other

Location: Arlington, Va.

URL: www.nreca.coop

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: This year, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) makes its second consecutive appearance on AARP's list of the Best Employers for Workers Over 50. NRECA offers employees a benefits package that includes perks like free preventive-care exams. Employees can also choose from a number of alternative-work arrangements, ranging from flextime to the ability to telework up to three days per week. Currently, 37 percent of NRECA's workforce is age 50+, with an average tenure of 11.8 years.


6. S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

Winning years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

Industry:Industrial

Location: Racine, Wis.

URL: www.scjohnson.com

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: This year marks S.C. Johnson & Son's fourth on AARP's annual list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. S.C. Johnson offers workers and retirees the same benefits and programs, which include a defined pension benefit plan and the S.C. Johnson JMBA Recreation and Fitness Center. This center offers health, wellness, and fitness programs and activities specifically or exclusively to retirees. The company actively maintains contact with retirees by communicating about events, celebrations, workshops, and temporary assignments. S.C. Johnson also formally recognizes retirees and employees for their contributions to the community.


7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2003

Industry: Education – Post-Secondary

Location: Cambridge, Mass.

URL: www.mit.edu

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: This year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology makes its fifth appearance on AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. By creating a positive work environment through a generous benefits package, progressive programs such as MITemps, and internal-hiring practices, MIT has been able to foster growth in its employees and to maintain high levels of employee retention. Thirty-seven percent of MIT employees are ages 50 or older, with an average tenure of 15.9 years.


8. Stanley Consultants

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002

Industry:Consulting Services

Location: Muscatine, Iowa

URL: www.stanleyconsultants.com

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: This year, Stanley Consulting makes its seventh appearance on the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 list. By offering a generous benefits package and flexible work schedules, Stanley has been able to attract and retain mature workers.

The company's phased-retirement program has helped the organization maintain its skilled, mature labor force. About 75 percent of new retirees participate in the phased-retirement program during their first two years of retirement. Phased-retirement schedules are flexible and are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the employee and the employer. Currently, just over one-third of employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 15 years.


9. Brevard Public Schools

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

Industry:Education - Pre-secondary

Location: Viera, Fla.

URL: www.brevard.k12.fl.us

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: As of 2008, 44 percent of Brevard Public Schools' workforce was age 50+. Brevard tries to retain its mature workers by offering them a number of alternative work arrangements, such as flextime and phased retirement. Brevard also actively works with its retirees to fill permanent and temporary positions in the schools. As of 2008, 494 retirees had used one of the schools' employment opportunities.


10. George Mason University

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007

Industry: Education

Location: Fairfax, Va.

URL: www.gmu.edu

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: This year marks George Mason University's third appearance on AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. Among other development and training opportunities, the university offers employees a Life Planning/Eldercare seminar series for employees interested in learning more about caring for elderly relatives, planning retirement, or aging in place.

The university also offers employees support groups and information on, and referral services for eldercare. Retirees of any age enjoy the same benefits as current employees, including individual and family long-term-care coverage. More than one-third of the university's workforce is age 50 or older.


Next: See AARP's Full List of Best Employers for Workers Over 50 >>

See Also: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>


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