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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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The YMCA of Greater Rochester

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Industry: Philanthropic Organization
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
2008 Rank: 4

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

One of AARP’s top-10 Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in 2008, the YMCA of Greater Rochester engages in diversity efforts with members, volunteers, and employees, including those age 50+. The YMCA partners with Lifespan, which provides information, guidance, and services to assist older adults. The organization also offers career-development and training programs, including the YMCA Multicultural Executive Development Program, which focuses on developing and retaining senior-level professionals from diverse backgrounds, and the Mentoring Program, which fosters mentoring across generations. The YMCA offers retirees the benefit of YMCA family or individual memberships and a Go Getters fitness and weight-management benefit worth $650 annually.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: The YMCA uses placement agencies for older job-seekers to target mature workers and retirees. In addition, the YMCA works with the Rochester Area Employee Network to attract, recruit, and retain age-50+ workers who have disabilities.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: The YMCA offers its full- and part-time employees these learning and development programs: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, on-line training, certification classes, and a Workforce Investment Act training grant of $70,000. It offers tuition reimbursement exclusively to employees working at least 25 hours per week. In the past 12 months, 75 percent of YMCA employees participated in at least one of its educational programs, with an average of 40 hours spent in training. The organization commemorates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments.

Examples of job accommodations offered at the YMCA include: TTYs for workers age 50+ who are hearing impaired, ergonomic evaluations, and handicapped-accessible facilities, which include a modified rope-climbing course, wheelchair-accessible pools, and a handicapped-accessible campground.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working 25 or more hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short-term disability. Long-term disability is offered to employees working at least 40 hours per week.

Health benefits for retirees under age 65 and 65+ include individual and spousal medical and drug coverage, individual and spousal vision and dental insurance, and individual and spousal life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. Retirees age 65+ also receive individual and spousal long-term care insurance and EAP services. New hires are eligible for all these benefits upon retirement. The YMCA offers employees flexible-spending accounts to help cover out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: The YMCA offers a 403(b) with an employer match and an optional 457(b) plan to its full- and part-time employees. All new hires are automatically enrolled in the 403(b) plan, employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees age 50+ can make catch-up contributions.
Employees receive financial-planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers the 403(b), and from external financial-planning experts. The YMCA offers paid time off specifically designated for caregiving, short-term time off without pay, and long-term leaves of absence without pay to allow for caregiving.

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