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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Best Employers

The Aerospace Corporation

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002
Industry: Not for Profit-Other
Location: El Segundo, Calif.
Website: www.aero.org
2008 Rank: 39

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

The Aerospace Corporation’s phased-retirement program gives employees the option of working part time prior to retirement, taking a leave of absence for up to one year before retirement, or retiring and getting rehired as a “retiree casual.” The latter option allows the employee to work up to 1,000 hours per year at the same salary he or she received before retiring.

The Aerospace Corporation has a retiree Web site with information on group insurance, retirement, and other related information. Fifty-three percent of the company’s employees are age 50+.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: The Aerospace Corporation recruits mature workers and retirees at colleges and universities and also searches for employees among its own retirees.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: The Aerospace Institute offers a broad curriculum of education, training, and development programs. For full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week, The Aerospace Corporation offers the following learning and development programs: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, and online training. In the past 12 months, 82 percent of employees have participated in at least one of its training opportunities, with an average of 58 hours spent in training. 

The corporation celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements.

Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and also via a formal job-rotation programs. Examples of job accommodations for employees in need include creating a separate and private restroom for an employee with irritable bowel syndrome and setting up a home office developed by the company’s ergonomics department for an employee with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
 
Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, and short- and long-term disability.

Health benefits for retirees under 65 and 65+ include individual and spousal medical and drug coverage, individual and spousal dental coverage, employee-assistance services, and individual life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the benefits upon retirement.

The Aerospace Corporation also offers flexible-spending accounts to employees to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: The Aerospace Corporation offers a 403(b) plan, a defined-benefit plan, and a money-purchase defined-contribution plan to its full- and part-time employees. Employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions. Employees receive financial-planning information from the financial services firm that administers the 403(b) plan and from external financial-planning experts not affiliated with the 403(b) plan.

The company offers paid time off specifically designated for caregiving, and short-term time off without pay and long-term leaves of absence without pay to allow for caregiving. The following wellness programs are offered to full- and part-time employees: flu shots, health screenings, weight loss programs, stress-management training, and lunch-and-learn seminars on health-related topics. Twenty-three percent of the company’s employees have used at least one of the company’s wellness benefits during the past 12 months.

The Aerospace Corporation offers referral services to help its full- and part-time employees with care for children and grandchildren and with eldercare to . The company gives new parent- and grandparent-education classes. It also hosts as eldercare lunch–and-learn seminars.

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