ENERGY ENCORES: Oil and gas vets go green

Richard Haut left the oil industry to join a nonprofit working on environmental sustainability.

A growing number of energy industry veterans "are reinventing themselves as protectors of the earth," The Wall Street Journal reports.

"They are taking what they learned in the oil and gas fields and using it to develop and push greener drilling and production technologies," writes Isabel Ordonez. "Some have formed their own companies for that purpose, while others have joined environmental nonprofits."

The emergence of green encore careers in the energy industry is the result of the intersection of two trends -- the industry's large number of baby boomer engineers and others who are nearing traditional retirement age with a passion for continued contribution; and a change in the perception of environmentalism as issues like climate change and energy security come to the fore.

MARC FREEDMAN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: Second Acts in Sustained Working Lives

A fitness trainer at the YMCA in Rochester, New York.

Marc Freedman challenged employers to invest in older adults who want meaningful work in the second half of their lives.

"Employers need to recognize, particularly those facing talent shortages, that there is more than one place to look when filling these gaps," Freedman says in an interview in today’s online edition of The New York Times. "While many young people have an enormous amount to offer, there is another vast and growing pool of talent and commitment.

"And employers need to correct some misconceptions," he told reporter Marci Alboher. "They often assume that people in their 50s and 60s have one foot out the door. But an accumulation of evidence supports the fact that turnover is less with this population than with young people. So it is worth investing in these individuals."

AARP FOUNDATION: New center to champion nursing in America

Each year nursing schools turn away thousands of qualified applicants because they don’t have enough skilled faculty members to teach them. By 2020, the American health care system is expected to face a shortage of more than one million nurses.

Trying to expand the pipeline, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a $10 million grant to the AARP Foundation to pursue an aggressive agenda to elevate the visibility of the nursing shortage.

JOHN B. SHOVEN: New way to think about old age

Stanford professor John B. Shoven has a provocative proposal for figuring "inflation-adjusted age."

In the latest issue of Foreign Policy, Shoven argues that, just as a 1960 dollar is not the same as a 2008 dollar, neither is a 1960 lifespan the same as a 2008 lifespan. Since 1960, Shoven points out, the average lifespan of a Chinese person has increased by 36 years, a South Korean by 24 years, a Mexican by 17 years and a French person by nearly a decade.

"Just as with the dollar, it is time to introduce inflation-adjusted ages as a superior method for measuring age," Shoven writes. Instead, he suggests mortality risk -- the chance a person has of dying within the next year -- as a more accurate view of health, productivity and life expectancy.

MARC FREEDMAN in the WASHINGTON POST: "What work will boomers do?"

Velma Simpson. Photo by Alex Harris.

Marc Freedman, in a column in today's Washington Post, takes issue with an Allstate ad exhorting Americans to save for 30 years of retirement.

"Millions of boomers are headed not for endless vacation but for a new stage of work, driven both by the desire to remain productive and the need to make ends meet over longer life spans," Freedman, author of Encore, writes in the piece, "One More Time, With Meaning."

That makes the central question, both for individuals and society at large, "What work will boomers do?"

PURPOSE PRIZE INNOVATION: Farm to Family inspires imitators

Gary Maxworthy won a 2007 Purpose Prize for his success in getting fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income families that often received only processed foods from neighborhood food banks.

Now, Solid Ground, a nonprofit in Washington State is starting fresh produce distribution statewide, using the model Maxworthy developed for Farm to Family.

"They had read about my Purpose Prize story," Maxworthy says. "I volunteered to help them."

HUGH PRICE: Mobilize Retired Physicians to Fight Childhood Obesity

Image from HealthyBodyWeight.com

Hugh Price is calling for retired physicians and healthcare workers to join a "crusade" to combat childhood obesity.

Price, the former head of the National Urban League and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, makes a compelling case that the need is both massive and urgent, with more than 25 million overweight and obese children headed for a life of serious health problems -- at a huge cost to society.

BOOMER MEDIA MANIA: No signs of slowing

illustration by Felix Sockwell/The New York Times.

It started in earnest in 2006, when the first baby boomers (born in 1946) turned 60. This year they're turning 62 (and thus eligible for Social Security), setting off another round of media coverage.

This time, perhaps by virtue of the fact that so much has already been said, reporters and commentators appear to be offering deeper reporting and more nuanced perspectives.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Baby boomers go back to college

Leigh Hoes, 51, trained to become a pharmacy technician in a one-year program at Richland College. She plans to work into her 60s or 70s. Photo by Randy Eli Grothe/Dallas Morning News.

Boomers are "rebooting" at Richland College in Dallas, one of the new wave of community colleges that are reshaping their programs to meet the new needs of career-switching baby boomers.

EDITOR'S ENCORE: Mentors for at-risk youth

Susan L. Taylor. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Susan Taylor's decision to leave Essence magazine to devote herself to the youth mentoring program she founded illustrates a recurring feature of many encore careers: what was once secondary becomes primary, and what was once primary becomes secondary.

The New York Times reported that Taylor, 61 years old, sent an email to her staff explaining, "I will be leaving Essence to do what at this juncture in my life has become a larger work for me — building the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which I founded as Essence Cares and today is my deepest passion."

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