Sociologist Leads Program To Help Boomers Land Encore Careers

By Jackie Crosby
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Phyllis Moen, author of the 2016 book “Encore Adulthood: Boomers on the Edge of Risk, Renewal and Purpose,” has launched a program for those 50 and older to try and rethink/reshape their futures.

MINNEAPOLIS

It’s among the most persistent questions to dog workers at or near retirement: What comes next?

Phyllis Moen wants to help. The University of Minnesota sociology professor believes too few baby boomers interested in an encore career know how to answer that question.

At the same time, too few businesses and communities know how to take advantage of their skills and experience.

This fall, Moen, author of the 2016 book “Encore Adulthood: Boomers on the Edge of Risk, Renewal and Purpose,” launched a program for those 50 and older to try to bridge that divide.

Moen sees the program, called the Advanced Careers Initiative, as part of a broader goal to change the way people think about using colleges and universities as they get older.

Q: What do the participants do in the program?

A: The University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative is a nine-month program that offers time in the classroom, partnerships with undergrads and weekly discussions with experts from across campus. During spring semester, the participants (known as fellows) work at a nonprofit organization as part of a “midternship”, an internship for midcareer professionals. This is the inaugural year for the program, with 10 professionals, most of them from the Twin Cities area. One drives in from Red Wing, Minn., one moved here from Vermont and one flies in each week from Virginia. We plan to bring in 20 fellows each year. Some have already applied for 2018-19.

Q: What are their backgrounds?

A: One is a psychologist, two are attorneys, one works in communications, one in marketing and advertising. One had a job in international development and stopped to do long-term care for a family member. Another has been active in the volunteer community supporting her husband in his high-powered job and now she’s looking to launch her own career. One was unexpectedly and involuntarily “retired” in a company layoff. They range in age from 50 to 72. A lot of them are seeking paid work that will also provide more flexible and less demanding second acts, that provide a sense of meaning.

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