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News Release
People Everywhere Are Working for the Greater Good in the Second Half of Life
- For Immediate Release -
  October 3, 2008

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Coate
(415) 222-7490

Ten Community Colleges Pilot Innovative Programs for Boomers Interested in Work with Meaning and Social Impact
MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Study Provides Key Lessons on How to Attract Experienced Students, Connect with Local Employers, and Fill Critical Jobs

SAN FRANCISCO — Civic Ventures (CivicVentures.org) — a think tank on boomers and work — today released Pathways to Encore Careers: How 10 Community Colleges are Preparing Boomers for Work in Education, Health Care and Social Services.

The report (http://www.civicventures.org/communitycollege/reports/ECCreport.pdf) profiles 10 community colleges (in AZ, CA, FL, KY, MD, MI, NC, OR, TX, VA) that have tapped into promising new student populations, engaged local employers, and helped prepare boomers for meaningful work in the second half of life.

In a 2008 study by Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation, half of the 44-70-year-old respondents expressed interest in “encore careers,” work that combines greater meaning and social impact with continued income. But the survey also uncovered concerns about the skills boomers will need to acquire and succeed in such positions.

To fill this void, Civic Ventures, with support from MetLife Foundation, launched the Community College Encore Career Grants program, which provides each of the 10 community colleges with a $25,000 grant to help develop innovative initiatives that match boomers’ experience, skills, and interests to encore careers in education, health care, and social services.

Grantees included urban, suburban and rural colleges of 4,000 to 90,000 students (and one statewide system). The colleges piloted innovative approaches in career transition courses, curriculum development, community partnerships, supportive student services, and job placement.

 “Our schools, hospitals and community service agencies need talented employees, and research shows that boomers want meaningful work,” said Marc Freedman, CEO of Civic Ventures and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life (see Encore.org). “This report finds that community colleges can clearly be successful matchmakers.”

“Innovative colleges succeeded with boomers not by implementing a cookie-cutter approach, but by focusing directly on the specific needs of local employers and experienced students,” said Judy Goggin, a vice president at Civic Ventures and author of the report. “At the same time, we found common themes that can provide a rough roadmap for institutions following in their footsteps.”

Community colleges with the most successful approaches offered greater flexibility in scheduling, convenient locations as well as online options, fast-track programs, streamlined procedures, adequate support services, peer mentoring and networking opportunities, and direct access to employers. For more about specific lessons cited in the report, visit: http://www.civicventures.org/communitycollege/reports/ECCreport.pdf. 

“Community colleges play an invaluable role in our communities, particularly during tough economic times,” added Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We’re pleased to support this initiative, which will provide other institutions with concrete examples for connecting experienced individuals with local employers to better serve community needs.” 

The community colleges profiled include:

  • Baltimore City Community College (Baltimore, MD), which used an executive outplacement model to help African American women over 50 develop the skills they need to transition to encore careers. 
  • Broward Community College (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), which provided free seminars and career counseling for two months to help boomers explore local encore career and service opportunities.
  • Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, NC), which provided experienced managers and executives with career coaching and peer networking opportunities to help them transition to the nonprofit sector.
  • Coastline Community College (Fountain Valley, CA), which offered courses for older students interested in gerontology and elder-care careers.
  • Collin College (Allen, TX), which targeted boomers who have been laid off or retired from engineering and technology careers, helping them to get fast-track certification to become certified high school math and science teachers.
  • GateWay Community College (Phoenix, AZ), which joined forces with local employers to help develop courses that train boomers for careers as caregivers.
  • Owensboro Community and Technical College (Owensboro, KY), which encouraged experienced nurses to become adjunct nursing faculty at the community college level — filling a critical need to train the next generation of nursing students.
  • Portland Community College (Portland, OR), which established a peer mentoring program for students over 50 who are enrolled in the college’s gerontology certificate or degree program, to improve student support and  boost retention.
  • Virginia Community College System (Richmond, VA), which launched a recruitment effort to attract more boomers with college degrees to their existing fast-track teacher licensure programs.  
  • Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor, MI), which offered all-day encore career workshops for mid-career professionals who have lost jobs, white and blue collar, and want retraining to find social purpose work.


About Civic Ventures
Civic Ventures is a think tank working to help society achieve the greatest return on experience. To learn more, visit www.civicventures.org.

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation (www.metlife.org) was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement.  The Foundation’s goals are to strengthen communities, promote good health and improve education.

Turning the tables: from an experience drain to an experience gain
Turning the tables: from an experience drain to an experience gain

Doomsayers see the aging boom as a problem to be solved, a costly gray wave. Civic Ventures sees this longevity revolution differently — as the springboard for an America made better by experience.

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