Bridges Cornell Heights Becomes First ‘Assisted Living’ Facility Certified as a Living Wage Employer

The Tompkins County Workers’ Center is pleased to announce that we now have 80 Certified Living Wage Employers, having just added the following, Bridges Cornell Heights, an ‘assisted living’ facility in Cornell Heights, Ithaca. The significance of Bridges Cornell Heights, an employer of 46 workers, becoming a Living Wage-Certified is that it is exceedingly rare in the ‘assisted living’ industry for workers to start making much more than $8.00/hour.

Says Bridges Cornell Heights owner, Elizabeth Ambrose: “Our philosophy at Bridges is that for a job to work for our staff people, it has to really work for them: what they make in terms of ‘pay’, their schedule, their benefits, how they are treated. If it doesn’t work for them, they’re going to become someone else’s employees!”

“We find that paying a Living Wage, and the other things I mentioned, prevents turnover”, said Ambrose. “The employees are going to give you, and the people we take care of, 100%. If the employees are treated well, our clients at Bridges are going to be treated well. It just makes good business sense! In addition, as we will be seeing a burgeoning of ‘assisted living’ facilities as the baby boomer generation ages, we can attract a higher quality worker that will make this job a career rather than just a job. We have higher expectations and, in the end, you get what you pay for.

The Workers’ Center initiated the Living Wage Employer Certification Program in 2006 to publicly recognize and reward those employers who pay a living wage. The total of workers in Tompkins County who are working for Living Wage-Certified Employers is now over 1,750. Any employer in the private, public, and non-profit sectors is eligible to apply. With your help, we can provide incentives for other employers in our community! Please go to to find out which employers are Living Wage-Certified, as well as to download criteria and an application form.