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2013 AARP Best Employers

West Virginia University


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Industry: Education: Other           Location: Morgantown, W.Va         Website:

Winning Years: 2013, 2011

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

West Virginia University (WVU) retirees receive discounts to WVU athletic and cultural events, WVU libraries, transportation services and the WVU Recreation Center. Mature employees benefit from the "Take Charge of Your Health" program, which is an eight-week program with weekly assignments. By the end of the eight-week period, employees will have compiled a personal health manual with information on health contacts, health numbers, medications, family medical trees, medical visits and medical reports.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Recruiting: WVU uses senior placement agencies to target mature workers and retirees. The Senior Mountaineer Temps program at WVU recruits retired faculty and staff for temporary and flexible employment opportunities.

  •  Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Learning and development programs such as tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes and reimbursement of professional membership dues are offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. The WVU Center on Aging – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers classes and discussions to employees age 50-plus as well as retirees. These classes are taught by retired WVU faculty. In a recent 12-month period, 90 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 10 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties and awards. Feedback from the EmployeeFest 2012 survey prompted WVU to enhance its health and wellness activities such as increasing the number of worksite health screenings, wellness activities and lunch-and-learn programs on topics such as yoga, stress relief and stretching at your desk. In addition, an End-of-Life Advanced Care Planning workshop and a flu vaccine clinic are now offered. Employee requests for more retirement information resulted in an increase in the number of informational sessions/workshops on retirement benefits, and the Planning for a Secure Retirement program was initiated. A Roth 403(b) retirement savings account and extended long-term disability has also been implemented. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on team projects and by having access to formal mentoring programs.
  • Benefits/Health: WVU employees working 20-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, as well as short- and long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical and drug coverage, individual and spouse vision and dental coverage, the services of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), as well as individual life insurance or other death benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. Full- and part-time employees are offered numerous wellness programs and health benefits including flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs or counseling, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, stress management training, the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease, the Dr. Dean Ornish Spectrum Program, Dining with Diabetes, and the WV Family Nutrition Program. Forty-two percent of WVU employees utilized at least one of these wellness benefits during a recent 12-month period. EAP services are available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members.
  • Benefits/Financial: WVU employees working 20-plus hours a week are offered a 401(k) and 403(b) plan with employer match. All new hires and all employees are automatically enrolled into the plans. Employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan, and plan participants may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement. Employees are offered financial education from the staff of the financial services firm that administers their savings plans. WVU’s Benefits and Wellness Expo offers financial planning and educational workshops on home buying, estate planning, personal budgeting, and planning for life goals and retirement. WVU benefits specialists conduct seminars on "The Benefits of Your Benefits," and "Roadmap to Your WVU Retirement." Short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay are offered to allow for caregiving. Employees are offered dependent care services such as on-site child care and grandchild care, as well as referral services and backup care to assist with child care and grandchild care.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Alternative work arrangements such as compressed work schedules, job sharing and a formal phased retirement program are offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. Flextime and telecommuting are offered to all employees. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: WVU has 2,508 retirees. The university stays connected with its retirees by inviting retirees to organization events, by providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging employees upon retirement. The WVU Retired Faculty Committee stays in touch with retired faculty members. Retirees can work for the university as adjunct faculty and in arrangements such as temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, telecommuting, and full- and part-time work.
  • Age of Workforce: Forty-four percent of WVU employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 19 years.

Also of Interest: More AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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