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AARP: Cornell University Tops 2008 List Of Best Employers For Workers Over 50

September 23, 2008

Contact: David Nathan, AARP, 202-434-2560, dnathan@aarp.org

Cornell University’s students, faculty and alumni have long been known for being proud of the high academic standards of the Ivy League school located in Ithaca, New York. They now have another reason to be proud of the “Big Red.” Cornell has landed on top of the list of the 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50, announced today by AARP CEO Bill Novelli.

Cornell joins a broad group of employers in the top 50 that includes Scripps Health of San Diego (#2), multi-national corporation S. C. Johnson and Son, Inc. (#3) of Racine, Wisconsin, and the first federal agency to make the list, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of Bethesda, MD, (#11).

Additionally, AARP The Magazine will feature the 2008 Best Employers in its November-December issue, in homes September 25, along with an extensive feature story on re-careering and discovering new passions at age 50+. The complete article and list can also be found online at www.aarpthemagazine.org.

“A diverse group of corporations and not-for-profits are increasingly recognizing the importance of innovative policies as employers seek to retain and recruit experienced workers,” Novelli said in announcing the winners. “Progressive practices lead to more productive workers.”

Novelli noted that in the face of rising health care costs, many Best Employers are adopting practices such as health screenings and other wellness programs that will pay off for both the employee and the employer.

Cornell University President David Skorton said: “This award confirms that Cornell University is coming ever closer to what we set out to achieve – to be an inclusive and caring community of staff, students and faculty who comprise an institution that imparts an uncommon sense of purpose to its every endeavor.

“We are honored to be recognized as a top employer for those Cornellians who work so hard to make this a special place to work, study, create and discover and who have had a career-long experience of meaningful employment,” President Skorton added.

Cornell offers a variety of health-related programs through the year, including health screenings in office buildings on campus, and computerized and in-person health counseling for those enrolled in its Health Program for Healthy Living. The university also has established a special program called Opportunities for Healthy Aging. It provides older adults nine classes per week, with titles such as “Staying Strong,” “Gentle Yoga,” and “Core Conditioning.” In addition, there are weight loss workshops and stress management programs.

The university’s wellness program also provides access to five fitness centers on campus, an ice skating rink and several swimming pools, along with group fitness and nutrition classes.

Cornell’s forward-thinking policies, in addition to its wellness programs, include flexible arrangements such as flextime, compressed work weeks and telecommuting; a formal phased retirement program for faculty; a robust retiree health and prescription drug plan heavily subsidized by the university; temporary work assignments for non-faculty retirees; paid time off for care giving, and access for retirees to continued university education at no charge.

Scripps Health, a non-profit health care system that employs 12,300 and serves 500,000 patients annually in San Diego County, offers an extensive wellness program as well. Nearly 75 percent of its employees are enrolled, receiving free health insurance and other incentives for completing the required number of wellness activities annually. These include, for example, fitness and nutrition challenges, preventive screenings, and wellness assessments.

S. C. Johnson and Son, Inc. is a 122-year-old, family-owned and managed company that employs 12,000 people world-wide and sells consumer-packed products in more than 110 countries. S. C. Johnson has generous wellness, fitness and recreation programs in addition to providing an on-site medical center.

The National Institutes of Health, the first federal agency honored by AARP in the history of its Best Employers program, also offers a variety of wellness programs, including a fitness center and classes focusing on such issues as smoking cessation and stress management.

The Best Employers winners, and the winners of a separate AARP International Innovative Employer Award, will be honored at a dinner on October 7 in Chicago. Go to www.aarp.org/money/work/best_employers for information on the Best Employers and International Innovative Employee Awards. A CEO roundtable will also be held that day, focusing on AARP’s new workforce assessment tool and the importance for employers of evaluating their workforce to determine future employee needs.

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