VCU Named a Top Employer for Workers Over 50

AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management have ranked Virginia Commonwealth University among the top employers for older workers in the United States for the seventh time.

VCU placed 17th on the 2013 list of the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50, which highlights exemplary policies toward workers aged 50 and over. VCU received the honor previously in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. Awards were not presented in 2010 and 2012. This is the Society for Human Resource Management’s first year co-sponsoring the awards.

Key areas of consideration for the award are 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.

Forty percent of the workforce at VCU is 50 or older, and those employees have an average tenure of more than 16 years.

“We are pleased that the AARP has recognized us again for the work that we do with our employees over the age of 50," said Cathleen Burke, assistant vice president for human resources at VCU. "Older workers are a vital part of the faculty and staff at VCU. We have strived to ensure that we tailor our services and opportunities to meet their goals and needs with the same attention to the work/life balance that we provide the rest of our workforce.  This incredible success demonstrates our commitment to excellence in support of VCU’s Great Place Initiative to learn, create and innovate and Quest for Distinction, the university’s strategic plan.”

VCU’s repeated recognition by the AARP can be traced to a number of initiatives that aid older workers. For instance, the AARP noted VCU’s employee wellness program CommonHealth offers education seminars on topics such as diabetes awareness, healthy eating and the importance of exercise and fitness.

Also, any faculty member retiring from VCU is automatically a member of the Retired Faculty Council, which allows retirees to stay in touch with the university and remain active in university affairs. Retired faculty members also receive discounts at the VCU Bookstore and for theater, musical and athletic events on campus. In addition, retirees can audit up to three courses a semester tuition-free.

AARP The Magazine will feature the top Best Employers in its August-September issue, available online at For more information, visit, which includes background on each employer’s workforce practices and a description of the selection process.

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 co-sponsorship of the 2013 Best Employers award is one of several joint projects that are documented on the SHRM-AARP web page at

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