Civic Ventures, MetLife Foundation Invest in 10 Leading Institutions Training Boomers for Jobs Benefiting the Greater Good

Civic Ventures (, a think tank and program incubator helping society achieve the greatest return on experience, today announced the 10 community colleges that will lead a major national effort to help prepare baby boomers for careers in education, health care and social services. With support from MetLife Foundation, Civic Ventures will give $25,000 grants to each of the 10 community colleges from around the country. The colleges will develop a wide range of innovative initiatives designed to match boomers’ experience, skills and interests to “encore careers” in critical service fields.

Civic Ventures also published a white paper today, “Encore Colleges,” about the historic opportunity community colleges face in helping boomers transition to encore careers that address workforce needs in their communities. 

Studies show that the public interest sector — the fastest growing sector of our labor market — will face the greatest talent shortages as boomers continue to retire. At the same time, half of Americans in their 50s and 60s reported in a 2005 survey by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures that they were interested in jobs that improve their communities — but they did not believe that finding such employment would be easy.

“For tens of millions of baby boomers, a new phase of life and work is opening up between the end of midlife careers and the beginning of true old age,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life  (see “Traditional educational offerings for ‘seniors’ just won’t cut it anymore, particularly for those seeking to make a difference in their communities.”

Grant-winning projects will provide support and training for those over 50 who want to transition to teaching jobs, work in gerontology, become nursing instructors or work in nonprofits after a career in the for-profit sector. After a year of implementing their initiatives, the colleges — located in AZ, CA, FL, KY, MD, MI, NC, OR, TX, VA  — will collaborate with Civic Ventures to report publicly on how to prepare boomers for encore careers that benefit society.

“The winners of the Community College Encore Career Grants will lead the way,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “These educational pioneers will make it easier for baby boomers to transition to the purpose-driven jobs so many want, easier for employers to find and hire them, and easier for other educators to meet the career needs of older learners.”

“Community colleges have been educating boomers for 40 years,” adds Judy Goggin, vice president at Civic Ventures. “This effort is very much in step with the tradition of community colleges to adapt and innovate to meet student and workforce needs.”

The winners of the $25,000 Community College Encore Career Grants include: 

  • Baltimore City Community College (Baltimore, MD) will use an executive outplacement model to help African-American women over age 50 develop individual plans to transition into encore careers. 
  • Broward Community College (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) will do extensive marketing — including free seminars and career counseling — to inform boomers about local encore career and service opportunities. 
  • Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, NC) will design and deliver a leadership training program to support boomers interested in transitioning from careers in the for-profit to the non-profit sector. 
  • Coastline Community College (Fountain Valley, CA) will develop and offer online and classroom courses for those over 50 preparing for careers in gerontology and elder-care. 
  • Collin County Community College (Allen, TX) will train boomers who have been laid off from engineering and technology careers — and other boomers interested in teaching — to become certified high school math teachers in one year. 
  • GateWay Community College (Phoenix, AZ) will join forces with local employers to help boomers transition to careers as caregivers. Employers will provide instructors, tuition support and flexible jobs. 
  • Owensboro Community and Technical College (Owensboro, KY) will train retiring nurses to become adjunct nursing faculty at the community college level. (The national nursing shortage can be traced, in part, to a shortage of nursing faculty.) 
  • Portland Community College (Portland, OR) will establish a peer mentoring program for students over 50 enrolled in the college’s gerontology certificate or degree program to improve support for older students and to boost retention. 
  • Virginia Community College System (Richmond, VA) will launch a statewide recruitment effort to attract more boomers with college degrees to their existing statewide, fast-track teacher licensure programs. Partners include the state’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Dept. of Education and K-12 schools. 
  • Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor, MI) will develop outreach and support programs for mid-career professionals who want to use their training and business experience to help solve societal problems.

About Civic Ventures
Civic Ventures ( is a think tank and program incubator, working to help society achieve the greatest return on experience. For more information on the Community College Encore Career grant project, visit  

About the MetLife Foundation
The MetLife Foundation ( was established in 1976 by MetLife for the purpose of supporting education, health, civic and cultural organizations.


Ted Mitchell