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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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2009 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Industry: Hospitals/Health care
Location: Houston, Texas

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies: M.D. Anderson's Nursing Recruitment Office works with its mature employees to create flexible and accommodating work schedules while assigning internal employees and retirees to short- and long-term positions. In addition to its generous medical benefits, Anderson also pays medical and prescription-drug premiums and $3,000 of basic life insurance for retirees.

Recruiting: To recruit retirees and mature workers, M.D. Anderson uses placement agencies for older job seekers. In addition, the Cancer Center looks among its own retirees to fill contract, per-diem openings. It also recruits outside retirees by posting on

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: Full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for the following development opportunities: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, continuing education units, and certification classes. Both the in-house and online classes are available to employees working a minimum of one hour per week. In 2008, 98 percent of employees at M.D. Anderson took part in at least one learning and development opportunity, so each employee spent an average of 20 hours in training.

The Cancer Center recognizes long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards. Employees who have served M.D. Anderson for 10 years or more receive a plaque, gifts, and a special reception within their department. Employees with 25 or more years of service are honored every five years with an additional dinner celebration and special gifts. M.D. Anderson's president attends the service-anniversary receptions and acknowledges each long-term worker.

Employees can gain skills and experience through temporary work assignments in other departments, team projects, and access to a formal job-rotation program. Anderson’s Organizational Development Department identifies talented employees and offers them formal programs and opportunities to gain experience and develop leadership skills.

M.D. Anderson also assists with employees' physical and emotional needs by creating workplace accommodations, such as shorter work shifts and job redesigns that eliminate nonessential or extraneous tasks.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for the following health benefits: individual and family medical and prescription-drug coverage, individual and family dental and vision insurance, individual and family long-term-care insurance, and short-and long-term disability coverage. M.D. Anderson offers its employees flexible spending accounts (FSA) to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

Retirees under and above age 65, and new hires (upon retirement), are eligible for individual and spousal medical and prescription-drug coverage, dental and vision coverage, long-term-care insurance, employee assistance program (EAP) services, and life insurance.

M.D. Anderson also offers an on-site health and wellness program. It includes free nutrition and weight-management tools, a personal health-manager activity tracker, free tobacco-cessation programs—either online or via telephone, and physical activity challenges that include its entire staff.

Benefits/Financial: Financial benefits offered to M.D. Anderson employees include a defined-benefit plan, a 403(b) defined-contribution plan, and a 457(b) plan. In order to qualify for the defined-benefit plan, an employee must work at least 20 hours per week. Eligibility for the 403(b) plan begins at one hour per week. Anderson automatically enrolls all employees in the 403(b) plan. All staff members are also eligible to invest in life-cycle funds, which automatically reallocate assets based on an employee's age or proximity to retirement. In addition, employees age 50+ are eligible to make catch-up contributions

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