URBAN INSTITUTE: Enormous potential for 10 million older adults

Michael McCormick, a former pressman, is in his third year as a paid trail monitor for Cleveland's park district.

Just how big is the encore opportunity?

The Urban Institute has performed a valuable service in estimating the size of the older adult population that is able and willing to take up paid or unpaid encore careers, yet for various reasons remain on the sidelines.

Their answer: Approximately 10.3 million adults over 55 who are both healthy and have no caregiving responsibilities.

National service on the national agenda

Photo by Christian Witkin/TIME

Universal national service – the notion that everybody who wants to serve the country or the community should have the opportunity to do so – is getting a surprising amount of attention on the presidential campaign trail.

Time magazine queued up the issue with a cover story last summer, and now several leading candidates have embraced it.


Idealist.org is well known on college campuses as one of the best places to go to find jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in non-profit and community organizations around the world. It is expanding its reach to offer online resources for those interested in mid-career changes and encore careers.

EXPERIENCE CORPS: "Mrs. Thomas is my friend"

Barbara Thomas

"When third-grader Destiny comes running up to Barbara Thomas in the playground at Malcolm X Academy, there is no doubt that something special is going on," begins a profile of the longtime Experience Corps member in the San Francisco BayView newspaper. "Thomas gets a big hug from the sweet-faced student and when Destiny is asked about the hug, she says simply, 'Mrs. Thomas is my friend.'"

For Love and a Little Money

Purpose pays.

When the new facts don't fit the old thinking, sometimes it takes an insightful journalist to validate an emerging trend.

Claudia Deutsch of the New York Times performs such a service with a seminal article on what she calls "paid volunteerism."

AMERICA'S PROMISE: 100 Best Communities for Young People

National service programs for older adults are not just for older adults. They're for kids, too.

That point was highlighted when America's Promise, the youth development alliance founded by Colin Powell, selected Tempe, Arizona as one of the nation's "100 Best Communities for Young People."

ENCORE STORY: Teacher to Nonprofit Leader

Shari Augins won first-place in a 2005 photo contest sponsored by the U.S. Administration on Aging for this photograph of Mack Wilson, who volunteers four hours a day in this kindergarden class.

Shari Augins submitted her encore story to Encore.org and will receive a free, signed copy of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. Click here to submit your encore story.

Shari's story:

STAR-TRIBUNE: New ways to view work and retirement

Jan Hively at a SHiFT meeting

Minnesota has become a hotbed of encore activity.

An editorial in today's Star-Tribune describes some of the individual stories included in Marc Freedman's Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, and concludes:

"As the huge wave of baby boomers ages, their types should become the rule rather than the exception, both for the benefit of the seniors and for society overall. Older Americans are clamoring to stay active in more meaningful ways -- and the work force needs their talent, expertise and commitment."

OBAMA: Expand Senior Volunteer Programs

Sen. Barack Obama, campaigning in Iowa, said he wants to increase opportunities for older Americans to contribute to society by creating new volunteer programs, the AP reports.

Obama said he would expand programs such as Senior Corps, which provides opportunities for about 500,000 older adults. He proposed scholarships and stipends that could be used for education or to pad retirement savings.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Baby Boomers embracing encore careers

Once Nancy Drake's pastor suggested she had a calling in the ministry, the idea wouldn't let go of her. Photo by Milton Hinnant/Dallas Morning News.

It's worth quoting the rest of the headline on this story: "Boomers search for purpose could mean a huge change in the workforce."

Indeed, purpose is the essential core of the encore idea, the ingredient that makes an encore career something different from simply working longer.

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