25 Named AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 for 2003

Twenty-five employers in 17 states made the “AARP Best Employers for Workers over 50” list for 2003, the organization announced today. The award is the only one of its kind in the country.

The honorees represent a diverse group in terms of size, ranging from internationally-known firms such as Volkswagen of America, Inc., Whirlpool Corporation, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., and Deere & Company, to smaller employers such as Ultratech, Inc. of San Jose, CA and Brethren Village of Lancaster, PA., each with a few hundred employees.

Nine of the awardees are in the health care field and five are in financial services. One, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is among the nation’s most prestigious universities.

AARP President Jim Parkel, in announcing this year’s Best Employers, noted the outstanding efforts of employers to give employees aged 50 and older greater flexibility and to promote training of older employees to upgrade their skills and add to the companies’ bottom lines.

“This is a sure indicator of the growing importance of the older worker to the success of individual companies and, in fact, to the entire economy,” Parkel said. “For decades, many employers have been oblivious to the crucial role of that segment of the workforce.”

The AARP Best Employers for Workers over 50 will be honored at a dinner in New York City on Wednesday, September 24. The next day, AARP and Crain’s New York Business will host a forum presenting the results of AARP research on workforce issues, titled “Staying Ahead of the Curve 2003: The AARP Working in Retirement Study.”

AARP’s 2003 Best Employers for Workers over 50 are:

Adecco Employment Services (Melville, NY)
Augusta Health Care Inc.(Fishersville, VA)
Baptist Health South Florida (Coral Gables, FL)
Bon Secours Richmond Health System (Richmond, VA)
Brethren Village (Lancaster, PA)
Children’s Health System (Birmingham, AL)
Deere & Company (Moline, IL)
Farmers Insurance Group of Companies (Los Angeles, CA)
First Tennessee National Corporation (Memphis, TN)
Freeport Health Network (Freeport, IL)
Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.(Nutley, NJ)
Lincoln Financial Group (Philadelphia, PA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (Phoenix, AZ)
Principal Financial Group (Des Moines, IA)
Scottsdale Healthcare (Scottsdale, AZ)
SSM Health Care – St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
St. Mary’s Medical Center Inc. (Huntington, WV)
The Aerospace Corporation (El Segundo, CA)
The MITRE Corporation (Bedford, MA/McLean, VA)
The Ohio State University Medical Center (Columbus, OH)
Ultratech, Inc. (San Jose, CA)
Volkswagen of America, Inc. (Auburn Hills, MI)
West (Eagan, MN)
Whirlpool Corporation (Benton Harbor, MI)

AARP said that each of the honorees excelled in many of the categories that were evaluated. The criteria include recruitment practices (including former or retired employees), continuing opportunities for advancement, flexible work schedules, and benefits for current and retired employees.

AARP President Parkel, noting the large number of health care employers represented, said that it was significant that AARP’s new Staying Ahead of the Curve survey found that many Boomers expressed interest in moving into jobs in health care as they approach traditional retirement age.

Parkel also said that AARP will conduct annual research to study issues concerning the aging of the workforce.

Of the 17 states represented, California and Virginia are home to three employers’ headquarters, and Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania have two each.

Among this year’s selections is a three-time awardee, Baptist Health South Florida. Two-time honorees include Adecco Employment Services, Principal Financial Group, Ultratech, Inc., and The MITRE Corporation.

AARP invited employers to apply for the Best Employer designation by describing their innovative practices toward 50 and over workers in an extensive questionnaire. A consulting firm, NFO WorldGroup of Atlanta, GA, did the preliminary rating of responses. Then a panel of five outside judges — including human resources experts, academics and experts on aging workforce issues — selected the finalists.

AARP The Magazine will include feature stories on the Best Employers in the November-December issue.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; Segunda Juventud, our quarterly newspaper in Spanish; NRTA Live and Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our Web site, www.aarp.org. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.