Pathways From Then to Now

Members of the first group of EnCorps math and science teachers

Corporate leaders and public policymakers are exploring ways to help individuals make the transition from midlife careers to encore careers. These new pathways are still small, and not available to everybody. But these early examples may help you discover opportunities that fit your needs.

The EnCorps Teachers Initiative provides subsidies of $15,000 to encourage retiring math and science professionals to take up second careers as teachers in California’s public middle and high schools. The program includes a fast-track certification program, counseling, a three-day boot camp, tuition for coursework taken at an EnCorps partner university and online mentoring during the first year of teaching. Applicants who are accepted in the spring can be teaching in the classroom by fall. Read more.

IBM’s Transition to Teaching, launched in 2005, helps IBM employees become math and science teachers. IBM employees are eligible for up to $15,000 for certification costs, tuition and stipends while they student teach and provides online mentoring and other support services in conjunction with partner colleges, universities and school districts.

Troops to Teachers helps retiring military personnel take up second careers as public school teachers. The program gives retiring officers and enlisted personnel up to $10,000 in subsidies and bonuses to help cover the costs of getting teaching certificates and to encourage them to stick with teaching for at least three years. Regional offices help place the teachers, mostly in low-income, high-need schools. Read more.

IBM’s Bridgestar Initiative makes it easier for IBM employees and retirees transition to jobs in the nonprofit sector. IBM is working with Bridgespan to create an online platform that helps IBM employees and retirees assess their readiness for nonprofit positions, identify potential opportunities and skills required, apply for jobs with nonprofits and receive mentoring. Read more.

To address projected federal workforce shortages, IBM launched its FedExperience Pilot Program initiative with the Partnership for Public Service in early 2008. The program began by recruiting experienced workers to positions in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Plans call for expanding it to other agencies and corporations. Read more.

Community colleges are a good place to look for help in transitioning to encore careers. Visit the Encore College Initiative website for links to community college programs that help older adults train for and transition to social purpose work. recognizes employers that are tapping the experience and passion of Americans over age 50 with Encore Opportunity Awards.