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Big Names – and Big Money – Back Encore Learning

Sherry Lansing


Some savvy investors and entrepreneurs think encore careers are a hot market category.

The $15 million in venture capital financing for the new Encore Career Institute, along with the star power of co-founders Sherry Lansing and Steve Poizner and partners Creative Artists Agency, are the latest sign that aging boomers want work that matters to be a key part of their next stage, and even are willing to pay to find it.

Other universities, including Harvard, Northwestern and New York University, are also seizing the opportunity to help boomers transition to their encore careers, and community colleges have gotten into the act as well.

The launch of the Encore Career Institute “couldn’t come at a better time,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life and The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife. “There are tens of millions of people who want to use their experience to help solve our nation’s most pressing social problems in areas from education to the environment, homelessness to health care. I applaud the Encore Career Institute and UCLA Extension for this new effort to help boomers prepare for encore careers for the greater good.”

Working with UCLA Extension, the Encore Career Institute will offer certificates in fields such as early childhood education, drug and alcohol counseling and health care management and leadership. The yearlong programs will cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

The two founders bring personal experience in encore careers. After retiring as chair of Paramount Pictures, Sherry Lansing, a member of Civic Ventures’ board of directors, founded the EnCorps Teachers Program, to retrain corporate veterans as middle and high school math and science teachers, and PrimeTime LAUSD, to engage retirees in improving public education in Los Angeles.

After his success as a high-tech entrepreneur, Steve Poizner served as a White House Fellow and California’s insurance commissioner, and founded EdVoice, an education nonprofit dedicated to improving public schools. He also served as a volunteer teacher in San Jose’s Mount Pleasant High School, teaching 12th grade American government.