Alert
Close

Join us at AARP's 2015 Life@50+ National Event and Expo in sunny Miami.  Learn more

Highlights

Open

Real Possibilities

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad
Introducing RealPad by AARP
Auto mechanics in repair shop. Small Business Resource Center

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

AARP-iPad-ePub-app
AARP Auto Buying Program

PROGRAMS & RESOURCES

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Your Own Business

Information for business owners, entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

Back to Work 50+

Connecting employers and unemployed workers 50+.

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

Recruitment Best Practices: YMCA of Greater Rochester, N.Y.

Organization Profile

As a charitable association, the YMCA of Greater Rochester, N.Y., offers thousands of programs each year to people of all ages. Its programs help build healthy and safe communities. Its 2,700 employees work in 15 different locations throughout Greater Rochester, N.Y.

Overview

Most YMCA facilities are open seven days a week for up to 18 hours or more each day. This started to make it difficult for the Y of Greater Rochester to find qualified employees who were able to work non-traditional hours or who could manage or staff community programs. And since the organization's members were getting older, the composition of the staff at the Y no longer reflected the people it served.

Business Challenge: Target Employees Who Reflect Diverse Membership

Considering its hours, 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., the YMCA of Greater Rochester sometimes had trouble filling positions at each of its 15 different facilities. For example, at one location, there was an aquatics class offered from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. three times a week, and at another, the welcome desk had to be staffed nearly 17 hours a day.

"Our traditional target population was moms who wanted to reenter the workforce, who had older children they could leave [on their own] early in the morning, or who could come into work for a couple of hours while they were in school," said Fernan Cepero, the vice president of human resources at the YMCA. He explained that college students weren't always available year-round, because they were attending classes. Neither were high school students, whose work hours were also restricted by school and child-labor laws.

In 2005, a unique opportunity presented itself. A local managed-health care plan, Preferred Care, invited community organizations and local fitness centers to help introduce Silver Sneakers®, a health and fitness program for people age 50+. The insurer would pay the annual membership fee of each person who participated. At the time, annual memberships at the YMCA were more than $500.

Initially, many organizations were reluctant to offer the new program, fearing everything from injuries to lawsuits, and several declined the invitation. But the YMCA readily embraced the program and was soon surprised by the high turnout.

"We didn't expect to get the response we received," said Cepero. The first year of the program, nearly 5,300 older people signed up. Today, almost 12,000 are Silver Sneakers® members. From a membership standpoint, he said, that is "phenomenal."

Although the program addressed one challenge—encouraging older individuals to stay in shape—it created another. One of the YMCA's philosophies is to employ a workforce that represents the demographics of its membership base. Because of the sudden growth among age-50+ members, the Y's staffing profile was out of balance.

"We didn't have representation of senior employees matching the new growth we had in membership," he said, explaining that in 2002, roughly 10 percent of the Y's workforce (or 150 of 1,500 employees) were age 50+. Likewise, only 2 percent of its 42,500 members were age 50+. But after Silver Sneakers® was introduced and several new branches opened, membership swelled to 84,500. Twelve percent of those members were age 50+.

Business Solution: Recruit Older Members as Employees

Among the first tasks on the YMCA checklist was revamping its marketing collateral. While its materials didn't deliberately leave out images of older people, the appeal was definitely aimed at a much younger workforce, explained Cepero.

"It sounds simple, but it had an extreme impact on [older] applicants," he said. After the marketing makeover, he reported, "That was one of the first comments they made: 'When we look at your brochure, we see there are people like us in your workforce. This is a place where I would want to come to work.'"

The association then joined in an effort with Lifespan, an organization that offers information, services, and job-search assistance to older adults in the local community. Cepero related that Lifespan then promoted YMCA positions to its clients who were interested in returning to work.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services, 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

Mujer en la parte de afuera de so negocio

Free quotes for members from the AARP® Small Business Insurance Program.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Explore Your Learning Possiblities