Tag Archives: Baby-boomer

Harnessing Boomer Talent by Dean Cathy Sandeen

Back in 2008, I conducted some research about needs and preferences of continuing professional education students, segmented by generation.  At the time, one result in particular stood out for me: a surprising percentage of respondents from the baby boomer segment indicated they were interested in a “post-retirement career.”

This makes sense. Baby boomers likely will live way past traditional retirement age. Most find great meaning in work and may not want to give that up completely. Some may want to move in a different direction with a new career involving more creativity, a lifelong passion, or with greater positive social impact.

Since 2008, many members of the boomer generation found their retirement portfolios greatly diminished and/or they were laid off from their jobs in declining industries.  This group will continue to work out of economic necessity. See this interesting blog post by Kerry Hannon on why one should consider working until the age of 70.

From the employer side, there would be a tremendous workforce shortage and knowledge capture crisis if all 76 million baby boomers retired “on schedule.” It makes sense for employers to figure out how to harness all available talent. This may require envisioning flexible, part-time, seasonal, or contract employment options.

That brings me to Empowered UCLA Extension, the program featured in the video above. This program was developed specifically to serve the needs of baby boomers with an academically robust, quick, and effective way to gain relevant skills in areas experiencing employment growth. We partnered with a Silicon Valley start-up, headed by entrepreneur, Steve Poizner. This venture allows us to leverage UCLA Extension’s proven professional certificate programs by offering them to a national audience through online delivery of a complete package incluidng career assessment, educational programs, and career search support. And one more thing: We will be the first to offer these services via an iPad app, custom designed by Empowered.

Initial certificates include:

  • College Counseling
  • Financial Planning
  • Global Sustainability
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resources
  • IT Management
  • Marketing and New Media
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Project Management
  • And more to follow in the future.

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An “encore” for baby-boomers

I’ve always been interested in the connection between macro socioeconomic trends and education trends. A few years ago, I began to take a look at generational differences. I wanted to learn more about the traits and characteristics of the baby-boomers, generation X, and millennials—particularly their educational preferences. My work was published as an article in the Continuing Higher Education Review.

 One big “Aha!” moment for me was recognizing the unique needs of my own generation—the baby-boomers—as they near traditional retirement age. I learned most baby-boomer will:

  • Live long past the traditional retirement age of 65
  • Will remain active after retirement
  • Continue to value work and career
  • Search for meaning and ways to “give back” to society
  • Need income due to insufficient retirement saving
  • Value and will actively participate in education

These generational traits dovetail with several socioeconomic trends:

  • A projected workforce shortage if 70 million baby-boomers retire at 65
  • Financial challenges within major federal support programs (e.g., social security and Medicare)
  • Need to improve our education and healthcare systems
  • Growth of new jobs requiring perspective, experience, and communication skills (e.g., health care advocate, sustainability coordinator, college counselor, teacher, compliance officer, etc.)

The answer?

  • Find a way to help baby-boomers re-tool and redeploy their talents after retirement
  • Work with employers to identify new roles that would capitalize on the strengths and contributions of this hard-working and highly-educated generation

I am delighted to announce that UCLA Extension has established a new partnership with Encore Career Institute, a Silicon Valley start-up headed by entrepreneur and CEO Steve Poizner to do just that.

This partnership expands UCLA Extension’s Certificate programs to a much broader national audience using Encore’s advanced online platform and marketing expertise. The program will serve baby-boomers who wish to remain viable in today’s job market or seek a new career for passion or purpose. In addition, The Sherry Lansing Foundation and Creative Artists Agency (CAA), both partners with Encore, bring their expertise of late-career job training and marketing to this forward-thinking initiative.

 This effort is much needed on an individual, community, and national level.  We will combine the best of education, Silicon Valley technology, and Hollywood entertainment/marketing expertise to help solve and important problem.

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