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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top 10 Cities for Older Job-Hunters (2)

Many of the best places to find enjoyable work in retirement are college towns like Lubbock, Texas, and Charlottesville, Va., both of which have major universities and hospitals that provide plenty of jobs. At Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., 43 percent of employees are age 50 or older. The university also offers valuable perks that may appeal to older workers, such as health screenings on campus, paid time off for caregiving responsibilities, and compressed workweeks that allow for more time to explore Ithaca's famous gorges and waterfalls and the Finger Lakes. Penn State University in State College, Pa., even has a retirement community on campus. Residents can take free courses, pick up priority football and basketball tickets, and visit an on-site ice creamery. And if you can't find a job with the university, there are plenty of positions in town that cater to the university's more than 40,000 students.

The healthcare industry has proved itself resilient in this economic environment. Almost half of the 30 fastest-growing occupations named by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are concentrated within health services, including home health aides, medical assistants, and pharmacy technicians. More than 5,000 people are employed at the nonprofit Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, W.Va., the state's largest hospital. In Rochester, Minn., the Mayo Clinic employs more than 28,000 workers. Jobs within this industry extend far beyond the hospital. For example, a healthcare job could include selling software solutions to clinics, says Mark Anderson, president of ExecuNet, a networking firm. Rochester also has an extensive service industry—including lodging and restaurants—that caters to about 1.5 million people a year, many of whom are visiting the Mayo Clinic.

Public-sector jobs can provide a sense of security during turbulent times. Although they tend to pay on the low side, government jobs typically provide generous health and pension benefits, which many private companies have been slashing. State capitals are often prime spots to land a local, state, or federal government post. Plum jobs at the North Dakota State Capitol Building Tower in Bismarck, N.D., built during the Great Depression, come with a view of a 132-acre park that offers statues, memorials, and trails.

Some of the best cities to find retirement jobs support several industries that tend to hold up well in turbulent economies. Huntsville, Ala., for example, has a mix of government jobs at the Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, healthcare opportunities within the Huntsville Hospital System, and positions at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Verizon Wireless and Boeing Co. also have significant operations in town. It's a good idea to hedge your bets by retiring in a city where several industries are hiring.

Here are the 10 best cities to find retirement jobs:

•Bellevue, Wash.
•Bismarck, N.D.
•Charleston, W.Va.
•Charlottesville, Va.
•Ithaca, N.Y.
•Huntsville, Ala.
•Lubbock, Texas
•Oklahoma City, Okla.
•Rochester, Minn.
•State College, Pa.

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