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When the AARP published their 2009 rankings of the best employers for workers over 50 last month, Penn was nowhere to be found on the list.

But although institutions like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were ranked in the top 50, according to Manager of Strategic Communications for the Division of Human Resources Terri Ryan, Penn did not participate in the survey.

“There are a lot of workplace surveys out there, and we’re selective about which surveys we choose to complete,” Ryan wrote in an e-mail. “We want to be sure that the benefits reaped from survey participation are in line with our goals and objectives.”

But another Ivy League school, Cornell University, was ranked by AARP as the best employer for workers over 50.

AARP identified Cornell’s “QUEST” program, a performance-based arrangement system that helps employees identify opportunities for internal transfers, as one of the reasons Cornell claimed the top spot in the rankings.

The article also highlighted the fact that retired employees receive continued access to life insurance and other benefits at rates similar to those that active employees receive.

Although Penn did not participate in the survey, Ryan said the University provides a comprehensive benefits package and a multitude of professional development opportunities.

“We have our own Career Coach, who is available for free, [for] confidential consultations about career and skills development, including career mobility within Penn,” Ryan wrote in an e-mail.

She added that Penn retirees are eligible for benefits, including the same tuition benefits as active employees.

Harvard made the list as the 28th best employer for workers over 50.

AARP recognized that 31 percent of Harvard employees are age 50 or older, with an average tenure of almost nine years.

Other universities that ranked in the top 50 include George Mason University, Oklahoma City University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Pittsburgh and University of St. Thomas.

Many of these schools were recognized for offering retired employees continued recognition with their respective universities through volunteer opportunities, education and library and fitness center access.

But Ryan said that Penn offers many of these same opportunities to retired employees.

“Retirees are still able to enjoy many benefits of University life, such as Penn libraries, the credit union, the University club, recreational facilities, Almanac, PennCards and more.”

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