AARP Recognizes VCU for Treatment of Older Workers

For the third consecutive year, AARP has named Virginia Commonwealth University one of the "Best Employers for Workers over 50" in the United States.

The AARP announced Tuesday that VCU ranked No. 30 on its list of the top 50 employers nationwide for fairness of policies and practices toward older workers. VCU was judged in categories such as recruiting, workplace culture, continued opportunities, health benefits, financial benefits, alternative work arrangements, opportunities for retirees and the age of its workforce.

"Employers that take a world-class approach in their policies toward 50 and over workers understand that the result is more productive employees," said AARP State Director Bill Kallio. "Focusing on the employee's personal needs pays dividends."

Workers over the age of 50 account for 37 percent of the workforce at VCU. The average tenure of employees 50-plus is 15.1 years. Cindy Andrews, executive director of human resources for VCU, said older workers are an integral part of the VCU workforce.

"VCU ensures that older workers not only have the right resources to thrive in the workplace, but that they have the flexibility they need," Andrews said. "Most of the benefits that AARP has cited for this award are also available to our younger workers at VCU, but they can be particularly beneficial for workers who are over the age of 50."

The AARP singled out for praise VCU's Community Service Leave program, which provides paid leave to employees so that they can volunteer at their children's school or participate in voluntary community service organizations.

Andrews said VCU employees benefit from the university's many assets. For instance, a partnership between the human resources department and VCU Department of Gerontology has resulted in a series of pre-retirement seminars on life after work, touching on topics such as taking care of elderly parents.

Christine Paine, who works in the data evaluation department of the Health Practitioners Intervention Program at VCU, said the Eldercare Support Group at VCU was extremely helpful for her when her mother was struggling through cancer treatments. Human resources staff members explained available programs and benefits, such as a pool of donated leave time that employees can use to care for family members or themselves, and they maintained regular contact to check on her.

"The elder care support group was there when I had questions – when I didn't know where to turn, didn't know who to ask," Paine said.

The AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50 and older have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see