Hamline News

"Second Act" Career Path for Baby Boomers, Retirees Through New Fellowship to Enact Positive Change

Retiring professionals and corporate executives now have a new career path to consider--complete with a bonus package of giving back to their communities--thanks to the launch of a new Encore Fellowship Program through Hamline University that pairs their skills and experience with local nonprofits in need of their talents.

The new Hamline Encore Fellowship is being led by Jim Scheibel, former mayor of St. Paul who has pursued his own “encore career” as professor of practice at the Hamline School of Business. The program will start in September and offer retirees in transition the opportunity to prepare for their own “encore career” that is tailored to them. They will then be connected with an area nonprofit or public service organization that would benefit from their deep professional experience. The positions can range from volunteer to full-time.

“There are many professionals who are transitioning to retirement with a desire to give back to the community in a meaningful way by leveraging their skills, experience, and knowledge,” said Scheibel, who was also former director of AmeriCorps VISTA and the Senior Corps programs under the Bill Clinton Administration. “There are also many nonprofits that want to tap that expertise to help guide meaningful projects ranging from operations to management that are important to an organization’s continuous improvement and success. This program serves as a matchmaker to bring those two needs together.”

Classes for the fellowship program begin September 11, 2017 on Hamline’s St. Paul campus and will prepare participants for their encore careers before placing them with a local nonprofit. Faculty from Hamline’s MBA, Master’s of NonProfit Management, and Master’s of Public Administration programs, as well as leaders from local nonprofits will be among the instructors. Over the five class sessions, participants will learn the fundamentals of nonprofit management and a mission-driven focus, build networks in the nonprofit world, and delve into better understanding of their own personal values and goals to identify opportunities to pursue this next career step. Scheibel noted the classes are designed for participants to shorten their learning curve compared to what could take months to learn on their own. The tuition-based fellowship is open to participants age 50 or older.

At the end of the classwork, each participant will be placed as an Encore Fellow with an area nonprofit organization to work on a high-level project that needs their creativity, skills, and problem-solving. To date, more than 20 Twin Cities nonprofits have been contacted and have expressed interested in participating in the program. Placement of the Fellows will be determined based on the best fit for both the individual and organization with hours ranging from 4 to 20 hours a week.

“We have this great wealth of human capital in transition with their careers here in the Twin Cities coming from Target, General Mills, Cargill, US Bank, and many other companies,” Scheibel said. “They are creative, good critical thinkers, and amazing problem solvers who have extensive networks. This program provides a new path for those individuals in their next life stage who want to make a meaningful and purposeful contribution in their communities.”

The Hamline Encore Fellowship is part of the national Encore.org Program, which is a movement to improve communities by tapping the skills and experience of individuals as they enter retirement and look for ways to have a positive social impact. According to a 2014 study by Encore.org, about 21 million adults between the ages of 50 and 70 report that they would like to seek jobs that address social needs, particularly in education, health care, human services, and the environment.

“Baby boomers grew up asking not what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country,” Scheibel said. “Now as those boomers retire, there’s a wide open opportunity for that mindset to inspire younger generations as well. As an Encore Fellow, they’ll continue to give back to their community in their new second-act career and serve as a mentor for those looking to do the same.”

For more information and to register, contact the Hamline Center for Public Administration & Leadership, or visit the Hamline Encore Fellowship website.