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AARP NAMES FOUR BAY STATE EMPLOYERS AS
2009 BEST EMPLOYER FOR WORKERS OVER 50

Including Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Branch

BOSTON, MA - Four employers from Massachusetts have been named to the AARP list of 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50, including first-time recipient the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Branch. Also making this year's AARP grade are DentaQuest of Charlestown, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both of Cambridge. They join a diverse group of 50 forward-thinking employers, recognized by AARP for demonstrating that enlightened policies toward 50-plus employees make good business sense.

By 2012, almost one in five Bay State workers will be at least age 55. At the same time, the pool of younger, replacement workers will be smaller than previous generations and may not be sufficient to meet employer needs.

"It's a demographic certainty: The population is aging, and so is the workforce," says Deborah Banda, AARP Massachusetts state director. "As employers face the generational shift in their workforce, it's in their best interest to keep 50-plus workers on the job. Those employers who prepare today have the potential to be more competitive tomorrow."

The Bay State employers recognized this year by AARP illustrate two employment sectors that will likely be first and hardest hit by the aging workforce: education and government. These sectors, as well as health care and utilities, have encouraged long service, have had relatively little hiring in recent years, and/or major downsizing in the 1980s and 1990s.

"AARP's Best Employers recognize the importance of innovative policies - such as flexible work schedules, professional development, job sharing and redesign, good health benefits and opportunities to save for retirement - as they work to retain and recruit experienced workers," explains Banda. "In developing and instituting these policies and practices, AARP's Best Employers continue to chart the course for other employers to follow."

Banda adds, "It's also worth noting that due to the enormity of their numbers, older workers have the potential to revolutionize the workplace in the same way that women did decades ago. We will likely find that the policies attractive to older workers are good for workers across the generations."

More than 200 employers applied for this year's AARP Best Employers honor, the highest total in the nine year history of the program. Any U.S.-based employer with at least 50 employees is eligible to apply for the AARP 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.

More on Massachusetts employers:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Branch

is the first executive branch of state government to receive the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award. The Commonwealth's Executive Branch emphasizes its skilled and mature workforce by recognizing long service, offering learning and development opportunities, providing flexible work arrangements, and maintaining relationships with retirees. The Executive Branch also offers dependent care assistance for help with both child-care and elder-care. Further, by targeting mature workers through programs like Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston, the Executive Branch has been able to develop a diverse workforce. Currently, 43 percent of the Executive Branch's workforce is age 50 or older, with an average tenure of 19.5 years.

DentaQuest

of Charlestown celebrates its third appearance on the AARP Best Employers list (2004, 2008, 2009). By partnering with Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston, DentaQuest is committed to training and recruiting mature employees. The company is also responsive to employees' concerns and requests, leading to an increased 401(k) match and a long-term care benefit.

"This recognition from AARP reinforces our belief that mature workers are a highly valued resource for our organization, bringing great insight and experience to our team," says Fay Donohue, CEO of DentaQuest. "We support inclusive and innovative employee policies that assist us in attracting and retaining great people to our organization."

Harvard University

of Cambridge offers employees a number of innovative benefits like childcare scholarships and co-pay reimbursements, Harvard is able to reward and retain its mature employees. Other benefits, like membership to the Harvard Retiree Association and the ability to take part in the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement help to maintain strong relationships with the school's 4,400 retirees. Thirty-one percent of Harvard employees are age 50 or older, with an average tenure of 8.8 years. This is Harvard's second straight appearance on the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 list.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

(MIT), Cambridge is a five-time AARP Best Employers recipient (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009). By creating a positive work environment through a generous benefits package, progressive programs like MITemps and internal hiring practices, MIT has been able to foster growth and maintain high levels of retention. Thirty-seven percent of MIT employees are age 50 or older, with an average tenure of 15.9 years.

To view the complete list of 2009 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50, visit www.aarp.org/ma.

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About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 33 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 39 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.