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It's working! MIT honored as great employer

Everyone knows MIT is a great school. But now the word is out: It's also a great place to work.

AARP this week placed MIT in the top 10 on its list of the AARP Best Employers For Workers Over 50. The Institute was one of only two companies in Massachusetts to be so recognized.

"This is a great honor," said Ellen Cushman, retirement counselor in MIT's Human Resources Department. "We've been lucky enough to win it twice now, which is exciting." MIT was similarly honored in 2003.

In compiling its list of the country's 50 best employers, the AARP, a membership organization for people 50 and over, evaluated numerous criteria, including recruitment practices, flexibility in work schedules and benefits for current and retired workers.

With one-third of its workforce over the age of 50, MIT ranked sixth in the AARP list. The organization reports that "the university leads its industry in embracing the labor shift." The American workforce is aging rapidly, with 19 percent of workers expected to be 55 or older in 2012, as compared to 14 percent in 2002, AARP reports.

Notable pluses for MIT were its phased retirement program, generous 401(k) contributions, opportunities for job sharing and flextime, AARP said.

"The reality is that the boomer generation, like it has always done, is changing the face of what it looks like to age, to work and to participate in life," said Barbara Peacock-Coady, MIT's aging workforce consultant and former career planning manager. "At MIT, we have an interesting, entrepreneurial environment. Many ideas are developed through a grassroots approach, where employees are rewarded for initiative. I believe this is enticing for mature workers."

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