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Vol. LX, No. 21
October 17, 2008

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AARP Says NIH Among Best Places for Workers Age 50+

Maybe outgoing NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, 57, made his move too soon—the AARP recently named NIH to its list of the 50 Best Employers for Workers over 50. NIH weighed in at number 11, while Cornell University topped the list. NIH is the first federal agency to make the list.

“A diverse group of corporations and not-for-profits are increasingly recognizing the importance of innovative policies as employers seek to retain and recruit experienced workers,” said AARP CEO Bill Novelli, who announced the winners on Sept. 24. “Progressive practices lead to more productive workers.”

NIH was credited with offering a variety of wellness programs, including fitness centers and classes focusing on such issues as smoking cessation and stress management.

“A lot was given to our [recreational] club system, fitness and to our opportunities for volunteering with the charities,” noted Randy Schools, R&W president.

Employers who receive the award must demonstrate policies and practices that meet and address the needs of older workers, according to AARP. Major areas of consideration include recruiting practices, education and career development, job sharing, flexible scheduling, health care and retirement benefits and workplace accommodations.

NIH’s application for the AARP honor fell largely to Bekah Geiger, now with the Clinical Center.

“She was a Presidential Management fellow last year when her rotation in the Office of Human Resources was dedicated to achieving this honor for NIH,” said Phil Lenowitz, deputy director of the human capital group at NIH. “Bekah worked with people from AARP and with many NIH staff to pull together the NIH submission to AARP. The application was nearly 50 pages. This distinction will be another tool for NIH in our recruiting efforts to attract seasoned professionals to our community.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2016, one in three workers will be 50+; up from 28 percent of the workforce in 2007. “Employers looking to maintain their competitive edge will have to work hard to catch up if they don’t begin appealing to older employees,” AARP said.

The Best Employers winners were honored at a dinner on Oct. 7 in Chicago. For a complete list of the top 50 employers, which appears in the November/December issue of AARP The Magazine, visit NIHRecord Icon

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