ENCORE PATHWAY: IBM shows employees the way to nonprofit careers

IBM plans to make it easier for its experienced employees to transition to second careers in nonprofits through a partnership with Bridgespan.

The two organizations announced today that they will build a program and 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. Once it’s perfected, the pilot project will be made available to other nonprofits and corporations that wish to start similar endeavors.

The project is designed to help fill the talent gap identified in a Bridgespan study that found that 640,000 new nonprofit leaders will be needed by 2016, primarily due to boomer retirements and growth of the nonprofit sector.

It builds on a desire by many boomers to do work that is meaningful to themselves and to society, said Marc Freedman, president of Civic Ventures, which publishes Encore.org. “The transition isn’t an easy one,” he noted. “This partnership between IBM and Bridgespan will provide a clear path from the end of a midlife career to an encore career for the greater good. It’s a great service for employees and a model for other employers to follow.”

“We’re delighted to be working with IBM to create transitions to the nonprofit sector for their employees and retirees. They have real heart,” said David Simms, managing partner of Bridgestar, a Bridgespan offshoot that attracts, connects and supports nonprofit leaders.

The program is similar to IBM’s Transition to Teaching initiative, launched in 2005, which addresses the national teacher shortage by helping employees interested in second careers become K-12 math and science teachers. More than 100 employees are participating in that program, which has been adopted by other companies and governments. On example is California’s EnCorps Teacher Initiative.

The partnership with Bridgespan is part of IBM’s Global Citizen’s Portfolio, which includes a pilot program with the Partnership for Public Service called FedExperience that is matching IBM employees with jobs in the federal government.

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