Federal Government Wants to Expand Encore Fellowships

With Sen. Edward Kennedy (far right) and others looking on, President Obama signs the Serve America Act.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed by President Obama in 2009, establishes federal encore fellowships for Americans age 55 and older. The new law marks the first time federal legislation has recognized encore careers and the need for pathways that get people from one stage to the next.

These encore fellowships are designed to provide people 55-plus with a way to transition to careers in government and nonprofit service, where they can continue to earn salaries, find meaning in their work and use their experience to improve communities. Fellows will get minimum stipends of $22,000, half paid by the federal government and half by the host nonprofits. The legislation also sets standards for training and leadership development to move fellows toward encore careers.

Although program specifics and funding are not yet in place, encore fellowships – 10 per state – will be administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the state service commissions. To learn more about the Serve America Act and the federal Encore Fellowships, visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website.