PhotoScripps Health, a major hospital and health care provider in Southern California, has been recognized as the top company in the 2011 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 program.

Scripps succeeds Cornell University, which placed second this year, as 2011’s number one finisher in the decade-long program.

Cornell joins other perennial top employers, National Institutes of Health (NIH) (#3) and First Horizon National Corporation of Memphis (#4), along with newcomer West Virginia University as fifth among the 50 honorees named today by AARP. The program completed its tenth awards designation since the 2001 launch.

“Scripps Health, Cornell and other employers on the list consistently recognize the value of, and have demonstrated exemplary policies for older workers,” said Jean Setzfand, AARP’s Vice President for Financial Security, in announcing the winners. “These companies and institutions deserve to be honored after their years of progressive practices that both meet the needs of mature workers and benefit their organizations as well.”

Scripps Health, with five hospital campuses and nearly two dozen clinics and coastal medical center sites, has been honored by AARP seven times over the last decade.

In addition to an array of alternative work arrangements such as flex-time, a phased retirement program, and a formal job rotation program, Scripps has a strong wellness program and generous health benefits for retirees under and over age 65.

In addition, the health system has designed a program that assists employees from age 50 to 70 as they move toward retirement. At the same time, Scripps maintains an on-going relationship with retirees to facilitate their return when temporary job opportunities develop.

Encore Cornell

Cornell University, a six-time honoree by AARP, has a multi-pronged “Encore Cornell” program, which provides retirees with workforce opportunities in addition to enrichment activities and resources.

“Encore Hire” and “Encore Volunteer” connect retirees with temporary employment and volunteer opportunities at the University and in the community. “Encore and More” provides retirees with information on resources, classes and events to support personal growth.

Finishing third, NIH offers broad health benefits and emphasizes financial education with pre-retirement classes and formal courses as part of a program that helps employees manage their finances at each stage in their careers. NIH participates in jobs fairs to seek out mature workers for openings.

“AARP is encouraged by these companies that have set a positive example and capitalized on the experience of working with older workers, especially given the difficult economy that has impacted employers and employees alike,” said Setzfand.

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