OHSU Receives "Exemplary" Older-Worker Practices Award from AARP

11/15/01    Portland, Ore

Original award ceremony was to take place Sept. 11 in New York


OHSU President Peter Kohler, M.D., receives Exemplary Employer Award from AARP Oregon President Jane Sharp; gathering of over-50 OHSU workers for group photo


Thursday, Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m.


OHSU Auditorium

Oregon Health & Science University is one of only 11 organizations nationwide to be honored for its exemplary practices toward older workers by AARP, the nation's preeminent group for people over 50. AARP Oregon will present the award at 11:30 a.m. today in the OHSU Auditorium.

The award ceremony was originally scheduled for Sept. 11 to coincide with a national award ceremony in New York, but the terrorist events that morning forced a cancellation. OHSU Human Resources Director Anna Sestrich was in New York to accept the award that day and will recollect on the experience at today's ceremony.

This is the first year for the AARP award, which recognizes employers' outstanding career development programs, pension and employee health benefits, age-neutral practices and policies, and retiree relations.

"AARP applauds these employers for putting innovative policies in place," said AARP CEO Bill Novelli. "All employers can benefit by recruiting and retaining qualified, skilled older workers."

"AARP Oregon is pleased to have an exemplary organization from our state," said AARP Oregon President Jane Sharp. "We salute OHSU for realizing that hiring and honoring older workers is a smart investment. Older workers show by experience and stability that they are valuable assets to any company. We honor OHSU for acknowledging that ability is ageless, and for bringing employment opportunities to all in our community regardless of age."

OHSU was selected for the award based on its innovative policies and practices that include:

  • Fully vesting employees in the university's generous retirement plan at age 50;
  • Providing workers with opportunities for phased retirement through part-time work without the risk of losing benefits (OHSU's comprehensive benefits plan is available to all employees working at least half-time);
  • Offering a course to all employees entitled "Generations at Work," which explores generational differences and strategies for improving communication and teamwork across generational lines; and
  • Recognizing employee longevity at an annual awards ceremony for employees who reach specific service milestones.

OHSU's commitment to employing a diverse workforce -- a commitment that includes age -- is exemplified by the fact that nearly one-quarter of OHSU's 11,000-plus employees is over age 50. Today's award ceremony will be followed by a group photo of many of the university's over-50 employees, and a reception.

The AARP honor comes at a time when the percentage of older persons in the work force is increasing, and when government projections indicate that the trend will continue well into the next two decades.