More than a quarter of workers age 50 and older switch jobs. No wonder so many older workers are writing their own second acts. Sure it's a risky move, but the rewards – at least in terms of personal satisfaction – can be tremendous. Here is a look at 16 people who have launched new careers. Of the individuals listed, 8 are currently pursuing their passion to help others in a career for social good – an encore career.

Maybe You Can Afford a Gap Year, After All

By: Marci Alboher

My colleague Marc Freedman has been talking up the idea of midlife gap years – a time to take stock, take a step back, and figure out next steps. It needn’t be a full year, though there is something about a full cycle of seasons that seems consistent with beginning a move into a new life stage. We allow young people lots of time for wandering and experimenting, why not the same for those in their encore years?

Click the image at right to play the video.

Allan Barsema , Community Collaboration, Inc.
Founder and Board Member
Community Collaboration, Inc.
Purpose Prize Winner 2010

Allan Barsema was working in the office of his construction company one afternoon when he heard a series of loud thuds. Outside, a homeless man was screaming and throwing himself against the door.

A neighborhood coffee shop that had allowed street people to hang out had recently closed, and without that simple haven, the man had become despondent. Barsema recognized himself in the disheveled, drunk man. Ten years earlier, Barsema’s alcoholism had cost him his marriage, house and real estate business.

Kenneth Lehman , Winning Workplaces
Founder and Chairman
Winning Workplaces
Purpose Prize Fellow 2007

After helping run his family's successful automotive parts manufacturing business for 25 years, Kenneth Lehman came away believing strongly that employment practices that put people first are the key to small business success. Research funded by the Lehman family found that small businesses and nonprofits often don't have access to information linking progressive employment practices to a positive bottom line, and they often lack the resources and knowledge to implement good workplace practices.

See attached excel spreadsheet for a list of local and statewide organizations that provide encore services, or to view a list of programs organized by state.

Civic Ventures, with support from MetLife Foundation, is proud to announce the winners of the 2009 Encore Opportunity Awards.

Spread across the country, the eight 2009 Encore Opportunity Award winners protect public safety, build low-income housing, teach job skills, preserve the environment, and fill other vital needs.

To learn about the Encore Opportunity Awards and the 2009 winners, see the attached PDF.

Next Chapter of Puget Sound
Seattle metropolitan area
Metropolitan area initiative that connects people in the second half of life with opportunities for self discovery, learning, service and meaningful work.

Next Chapter Puget Sound

55 Plus Yonkers Connection
Yonkers & Region
Regional initiative that encourages residents aged 55 and over to maintain independence, continue meaningful engagement in community life and have access to needed services.

Saint Joseph's Medical Center & The Community Planning Council of Yonkers

Grand Rapids
Multi-faceted approach to prepare the community for challenges and opportunities associated with the aging of the boomers. Activities include convening, local and national partnerships in research and learning, and strategic grantmaking.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation
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