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Brevard County Public Schools

Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Industry: Education - Pre-secondary
Location: Viera, Fla.

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.

Recruiting: Brevard Public Schools employs retired school principals as recruiters and consultants. These professionals assist with interviewing and hiring new teachers and often fill short-term or temporary positions within the school system.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: The learning and development opportunities Brevard offers to full- and part-time employees include in-house classroom training, on-line training, and certification classes. Full-time staff who work 40 hours per week are also eligible for tuition reimbursement. In 2008, 100 percent of employees participated in at least one development opportunity, with an average of seven hours per employeespent in training.

Brevard Public Schools recognizes long-service anniversaries through school and district announcements, school and department-based ceremonies, by giving awards, and during the annual Retiree Day celebration. Brevard also offers opportunities for career and professional development through temporary assignments with different departments, team projects, cross-training and through cross-functional task groups.

Brevard also works to accommodate its employees with special needs. Over the last few years, Brevard has provided amplified audio equipment, large-screen and large-print monitors and custom furniture to assist employees.

Benefits/Health:  All employees working at least 26 hours per week are eligible for individual and family medical and prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental coverage, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short-term and long-term disability coverage. Brevard also offers employees flexible spending accounts (FSA), so that they can use pre-tax dollars to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses. 

Brevard offers retirees and new hires under and above age 65, and their spouses, medical and prescription-drug coverage, vision and dental coverage, individual long-term-care insurance, an employee assistance program, life insurance, and death benefits. 

Benefits/Financial: Brevard Public Schools offers full- and part-time employees working at least 15 hours per week a defined-pension benefit, a money-purchased defined-contribution plan, and a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan. Employees age 50+ can also make catch-up contributions to their retirement plans. Employees receive financial planning information from internal staff members, staff from the financial-services firm that administers the retirement plans, instructional materials, and external financial-planning experts.

Brevard offers both unpaid short-term and long-term time off for caregiving. Wellness benefits include flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, discounts to local health clubs, physical activity and exercise programs, weight-loss programs, and stress-management training. Over the past 12 months, 72 percent of employees have taken part in at least one wellness activity. Brevard Public Schools also offers all of its employees on-site childcare, referral services for care for children, grandchildren, and elders, and before- and after-school care for children. 

Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Alternativework arrangements offered to employees working a minimum of 20 hours per week include flextime, job-sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased-retirement program. The formal phased-retirement plan allows employees and their supervisors to create an incremental shift toward retirement. Brevard Public School employees may also take part in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) offered by the State of Florida.

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