08/31/2005

WVU Hospitals Makes AARP'S List of Best Employers For Workers 50 and Over

MORGANTOWN – If today’s employers expect to recruit and retain a skilled and experienced workforce, they should pay attention to companies who are ahead of the curve in providing exemplary policies and practices for a mature workforce.  This year, AARP will recognize three West Virginia hospitals among 50 employers nationwide as the 2005 Best Employers for Workers over 50.  They offer some of the best policies and practices like phased retirement, generous 401(k) company contributions, flextime, job sharing, telecommuting and compressed schedules. 

West Virginia boasts three Best Employers this year,including St. Mary’s Hospital, WVU Hospitals and Cabell Huntington Hospital.  “This year’s Best Employers set high standards for practices toward older workers at a time when the value of these employees is often underestimated,” said Bill Davis, President of AARP West Virginia.   ”It is in their self-interest, as well as enlightened policy, to emphasize retention and recruitment of the 50 plus worker as America’s workforce ages in the years ahead”

Many of the honorees excelled in several categories scrutinized by the panel of judges, including recruitment practices, continuing opportunities for advancement, flexible work schedules, and benefits for current and retired employees.

AARP West Virginia will honor the three state winners at a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Wellington’s of Scarlet Oaks in Poca.

“It is quite notable that a state the size of West Virginia has three winners of the AARP Best Employers for Workers over 50 award,” said Frank Bellinetti, AARP West Virginia State Director.  “It also is impressive that the three state winners are hospitals – and shows how important older workers are to the health professions.”

This is the third year St. Mary’s Hospital has made the prestigious list and the second time WVU has received the honor.

St. Mary’s President and CEO Michael G. Sellards said, “St. Mary’s Medical Center is very pleased to be named as one of AARP’s Best Employers for Workers Over 50 for the third straight year. We believe winning this award three years in a row is a testament to this medical center’s commitment to our employees who are 50 and older, and to their families. And, rather than rest on our accomplishments, St. Mary’s will continue to strengthen its efforts to provide the best possible work environment and career opportunities for these employees.”

"WVUH currently employs 649 people age 50 and older - almost 18 percent of our workforce. These employees are an integral part of the WVUH family. The knowledge, skills and experience they share with our younger employees are invaluable," said WVUH President Bruce McClymonds. "We are thrilled to receive the AARP designation once again, and we hope to continually recruit and retain mature workers by providing them with a positive work environment."

Brent A. Marsteller, President & CEO at Cabell Huntington Hospital, said, "We're happy to be recognized by AARP as one of the best employers for workers over 50," said Brent Marsteller, President and CEO of Cabell Huntington Hospital. "We want our personnel policies and benefits to reflect how much we value and want to retain our older employees. Their knowledge, experience and loyalty make a big difference in the quality of care we provide."

AARP, now in the fifth year of recognizing Best Employers, is releasing highlights from research conducted over the past 5 years about mature worker, including top five concerns of employers about older workers and the top five realities known by ahead of the curve employers; top five reasons many 50 plus workers won’t retire; top five advantages of older workers; and the top five states where the most Best Employers have been based.

AARP has a new award category, the Bernard E. Nash Award for Innovation recognizing three employers with exemplary practices in recruitment, flexible work opportunities and rehiring of retirees. They are: First Horizon National Corporation (flexible work options); Pepco Holdings Inc. (retiree work opportunities); and Carondelet Health Network (recruitment).

AARP invites employers to apply for AARP’s Best Employer award by submitting an application describing their practices and policies toward older workers.  A consulting firm provides a preliminary rating of the applicants, then a panel of nine expert judges evaluates the applications, and their rankings, along with the consultant’s evaluations, lead to the final ratings  This year 145 applications were received and the complete list of 50 awardees follows this release. 

AARP will host an awards dinner in Chicago for the Best Employer for Workers over 50 on September 22.   The following day, AARP, Mercer and the Financial Times will sponsor “Business Solutions for an Aging Society” conference focusing on the best practices employers should adopt for an aging workforce.  For more information on the conference visit www.aarp.org/businesssolution.  

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.  We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors.  We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

- WVU -


05-165
For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
casew@rcbhsc.wvu.edu
sp:08-31-05

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