Imagine a not-too-distant future when millions and millions of jobs go unfilled. And one of the most frightening costs America faces is $3 trillion in lost economic output because there just aren't enough workers to meet rising labor-market demands. Welcome to the year 2018, as forecasted by a new report sponsored by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures. The report says there will be plenty of work available for those 55 and older.
President Obama will nominate health quality guru and Purpose Prize winner Dr. Donald Berwick, the head of the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, to run Medicare and Medicaid, administration sources confirm. In 2007, Berwick won the Civic Ventures-sponsored Prize - a $100,000 award for people over 60 making extraordinary contributions in their encore careers - for helping hospitals reduce unnecessary deaths by encouraging them to implement six specific, scientifically proven improvements in care.
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Barry Bluestone, who has a serious track record in labor market analysis (and who carries a Medicare card himself), has heartening news. According to a paper released by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures, Bluestone predicts that there will be at least 5 million potential job vacancies in the United States by 2018. Nearly half of those jobs will be in the social sector - which makes them appealing to boomers who might be ready use their hard-earned expertise to give back to society.
It took Gina Cassinelli "30 seconds" to decide to take a buyout offer and leave her stressful corporate job: "It was all building, building, taking, taking, buying, buying. … I was like, how can I give back?" She - and nine other former corporate executives - found a way to give back through a 2009 pilot program developed by Civic Ventures to help boomers transition to the nonprofit sector. The program, which is expanding this year, placed the 10 participants in Encore Fellowships, paid stints with nonprofits.
Green jobs are a "natural fit" for boomers, says a recent report from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Besides the generation's strength in numbers, boomers have years of experience they can bring from other fields - construction, finance, marketing and engineering - and are increasingly deciding to continue to work rather than retire, according to the report sponsored by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures.
Regardless of what Friday's employment report shows - and forecasts range from a loss of 50,000 to a gain of 400,000 - the long-term jobs outlook is good, if you can wait until 2018. While at the moment there are almost six people unemployed for every available job, according to two New England economists, by 2018 "the United States may face exactly the opposite problem - not enough workers to fill expected job openings." That is the conclusion of new report sponsored by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures.
Health navigator? Conflict coach? Pollution mitigation outreach worker? These emerging jobs aren't household terms yet, but they are a natural fit for older people looking for new career opportunities, said Phyllis Segal, vice president at Civic Ventures. Jobs in health care, education, government and nonprofit organizations are likely to grow because of an aging population, pending retirements and demographic changes.
More than 5 million Americans age 55 or older run their own businesses or are otherwise self-employed. And the number of self-employed people ages 55 to 64 is soaring. But experts urge caution to budding entrepreneurs. "People should start with some realism about what it takes to do this," said Marc Freedman, Civic Ventures' CEO. "It's important to realize that this is a trajectory that can last 10, 15, 20 years. That means take some time to prepare, whether it means going back to school or doing an apprenticeship."
With its golf courses and recreational centers, the Sun City retirement community helped change the country's attitude toward aging when it opened in 1960. Americans began to see the possibility of retirement being a productive period in life. Today more than half of Sun City's residents still work. The former "golden years," can now last up to 30 years. Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures, says people over 60 are in uncharted territory.
Even before the economic crisis began, many boomers already were refocusing their energies on second careers - and many are looking for work that will help them leave a positive legacy. "The needs in the country and in our communities are more stark and present and in the news," says John Gomperts, president of Civic Ventures. "People are alert to the fact that there are serious problems, and they are concerned."