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MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures Honor Eight Nonprofit and Public Sector Organizations with 2009 Encore Opportunity Awards
News Release - For Immediate Release -
11/17/2009
For more information, contact:
Elysha Rom-Povolo, 415-901-0111
erom-povolo@fenton.com

SAN FRANCISCO – To honor organizations that are making it easier for experienced workers to transition into encore careers – paid jobs that offer meaning and the chance to make a social impact – Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation today announced the winners of the 2009 Encore Opportunity Awards: eight nonprofit and public sector organizations that are tapping encore talent to serve the common good.

"For those in midlife and beyond, looking for a job these days is often a do-it-yourself project made all the worse by exhaustion, isolation, and high unemployment," said Phyllis N. Segal, vice president of Civic Ventures, a think tank on boomers, work and social purpose. "But some nonprofit and public sector organizations are hiring and retaining people over 50 to meet community needs – and doing so in an exemplary fashion."

Spread across the country, the 2009 Encore Opportunity Award winners are engaging people over 50 in creative ways to protect public safety, build low-income housing, teach job skills, preserve the environment, even save dying Native American languages.

"This year's Encore Opportunity Award winners are innovative, adaptable and smart – and clearly recognize the need to take advantage of the windfall of talented older Americans," said Dennis White, CEO and president of MetLife Foundation. "These trailblazing employers can serve as a model for others to follow."

While layoffs and hiring freezes remain the norm in most industries, experts still project talent shortages in some health care, education, nonprofit and government jobs. Meanwhile, surveys show that millions of boomers want to find encore careers where they can give back and have an impact.

The 2009 winners – which exemplify how employers can help experienced workers find encore careers – include:

  • Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals (Minneapolis)–This nonprofit created a youth development program that pays "elders"– Native Americans over 50 who know the Dakota or Ojibwe languages – to work with children ages 16 months to 5 years old. The language immersion experience aims to pass along native languages and a sense of culture.
  • Civitan Foundation Inc. (Phoenix)–This organization designed its Caring Connections program to engage encore workers as direct caregivers for its programs serving people with disabilities of all ages. In its first eight months, the project trained 50 older Americans and placed 20 in caregiver roles with clients.
  • Executive Service Corps of Chicago (Chicago)–To fill the leadership transition challenges experienced by many nonprofits, the Executive Service Corps recruits, trains and places retired nonprofit executives in interim director positions in Chicago-area nonprofits.
  • Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department (Lawrenceville, Ga.)–This public safety agency recruits and employs encore workers to fill jobs at all levels. One-fourth of the department's civilian and sworn work force is over 50, coming from previous careers in government, retail and business.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Florida Inc. (Eustis, Fla.)–To provide homes to people living in substandard and overcrowded conditions, this Habitat for Humanity affiliate has enlisted a multigenerational work force. Half of its staff is over 50.
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology (Butte, Mont.)–This organization helps people nationally – through offices in Montana, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana and Pennsylvania – use environmentally sound, energy-efficient methods in farming. More than 40 percent of its employees are 50-plus, thanks to a recruitment strategy that seeks their skills and experience, and a retention strategy offering flexible schedules.
  • Orleans Technical Institute a division of JEVS Human Services (Philadelphia)–This technical training school employs retirees from the building trades as instructors to provide training and individualized support to an "at-risk" student population. More than half of the school's employees are 50-plus, including full- and part-time instructors, support staff, recruiters and counselors.
  • Umbrella of the Capital District (Schenectady, N.Y.)–To help older adults and persons with disabilities live independently in their own homes, this nonprofit intentionally recruits 50-plus workers with the appropriate technical skills. More than 130 "handypeople" are paid an hourly stipend for light carpentry, lawn and garden maintenance, house cleaning and transportation to appointments.

In 2007, MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures first honored nonprofit and public sector employers with what was then called the BreakThrough Awards. The inaugural winners similarly exhibited successful strategies for finding, hiring and maximizing workers over 50.

About Civic Ventures (www.encore.org)
Civic Ventures is a national think tank on boomers, work and social purpose.

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation has been involved in a variety of aging-related initiatives addressing issues of caregiving, intergenerational activities, mental fitness, health and wellness programs and civic involvement. More information about the Foundation is available at www.metlife.org.

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