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Four Virginia Companies Honored



Virginia Employers in Top 20 of Top 50 list by AARP and Society for Human Resource Management



RICHMOND  _ Four Virginia employers are being honored by AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as the 2013 Best Employers for Workers Over 50.


Virginia employers named to the Top 50 list are Bon Secours Virginia Health System (8th) based in Richmond, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (9th) in Arlington, George Mason University (13th) in Fairfax and Virginia Commonwealth University (17th) in Richmond.

The four employers join a diverse group of health systems, corporations, government agencies and non-profits on the list, announced today by AARP and SHRM.

“AARP improves opportunities for older workers by spotlighting employers that have implemented programs that help retain, retrain, engage and recruit mature workers,” said AARP Virginia State President Bob Blancato.  “Virginia’s four award-winners know that recruiting and retaining 50-plus workers is smart business.”

Ranked eighth in the nation for the Best Employers award, Bon Secours Virginia employees receive a significant credit on their medical premiums for completing a personal health assessment and an online wellness screening.  Employees working 32+ hours per week can take part in the organization’s formal phased retirement program.  The program allows employees to retire from Bon Secours and be rehired without losing any retirement funds.  Those between the ages of 65 and 69 maintain pension benefits if they do not work more than 24 hours per week.  Employees working past age 70 ½ receive their pension, with no limits to hours worked.

Ninth-ranked National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Personal Investments Retirement Consulting Service offers employees and retirees free financial planning advice from certified professionals.  This personalized program is designed to provide guidance and information on retirement planning, investment options, asset allocation, 401(k) pension plan descriptions, 401(k) pension statement review, IRA funding options, IRA withdrawal options and retirement plan distribution options.

George Mason University’s (GMU) Retirement Connection provides retirees with a myriad of gifts upon retirement including complimentary tickets to a performance at the Center for the Arts and to a university basketball game, a 30-day pass to the university fitness facility, and complimentary parking for one year.  Retirees with 30+ years of service receive a free lifetime membership to the fitness facility.  Employees with 15+ years of creditable service at retirement are eligible for a health insurance credit to assist with insurance premium costs.  GMU is ranked 13th in the nation for the Best Employers honor.

Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) employee wellness program ‘CommonHealth’ offers educational seminars on topics such as diabetes awareness, healthy eating and the importance of exercise and fitness.  All faculty members retiring from VCU become members of the Retired Faculty Council.  The council provides a means for retired faculty to stay in touch with the university and to remain involved with university affairs.  Retired faculty receives discounts at the VCU Bookstore, and for theatre, musical and athletic events held on campus.  In addition, retirees can audit up to three courses a semester tuition-free.  VCU holds 17th place in the Best Employer rankings.

National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the world’s premiere medical research institutions, gained top honors in the 2013 search.  Scripps Health of Southern California, which headed the list in 2011, is runner-up this year.

Announcement of the top 50 came jointly by AARP and SHRM, which is cosponsoring the Best Employers program for the first time. SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The winners will be honored tonight (June 17) at the SHRM annual conference in Chicago.

“Every organization needs to view its older workers as highly valuable assets and develop strategies to keep this enormous wealth of talent,” said SHRM President and CEO Henry G. (Hank) Jackson.  “It’s absolutely critical for organizations to embrace new ways to retain older workers, especially in the face of the coming wave of Boomer retirements.”

Any U.S.-based employer with at least 50 employees is eligible to apply for the Best Employers award. Candidates are vetted to ensure that practices meet the needs of mature workers. Key areas of consideration include: recruiting practices; opportunities for training, education and career development; workplace accommodations; alternative work options, such as flexible scheduling, job sharing and phased retirement; employee health and retirement benefits, and retiree work opportunities.

The top Best Employers this year will be profiled in the August-September issue of AARP The Magazine. Accompanying that salute will be a feature article that explores the strengths of older workers.

For a full list and for more information on the 2013 Best Employers, please go to, which includes background on employers’ workforce practices and a description of the selection process. For more information on AARP’s resources for older workers, visit

AARP and SHRM have collaborated since 2010, working together to raise awareness on older worker issues and to provide resources and strategies to address these issues.  SHRM’s cosponsorship of the 2013 Best Employers award is one of several joint projects that are documented on the SHRM-AARP web page at


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