Hartford Program Helps Older Workers Dive Into Nonprofit Sector - NBC Connecticut
Making The Grade

Making The Grade

Hartford Program Helps Older Workers Dive Into Nonprofit Sector



    Seasoned workers in Connecticut learn about the non-profit sector before taking jobs helping others. (Published Thursday, July 17, 2014)

    For many older workers, getting a job in this economy can be a challenge. But despite retiring from a 31-year education career, Karen Adamson felt she had more to give.

    So Adamson joined Encore! Hartford, a UConn-based program that trains seasoned workers for nonprofit careers, all because she wanted “to continue to make a difference.”

    Now, she does marketing for a Hartford nonprofit that helps families get back on their feet financially.

    Jim Brady, who also went through Encore!, now works as an elder abuse advocate, following more than 30 years in investment management.

    “I wanted to take a skill set that was honed in that particular industry and apply it to the betterment of those around me,” said Brady.

    Karen and Jim are two of the 125 people who have completed the four-month immersion program.

    Students in the program learn the nuts and bolts of running a nonprofit from those who do it every day, then get hands-on experience in a fellowship.

    It’s a leg up for older workers trying to get back in the workforce, where misconceptions about both salary demands and lack of social media savvy can hurt them.

    “The financial system, the current economy, has a tendency to hit the age 50 and up population harder than it does their younger counterparts,” said Nora Duncan, spokesperson for the AARP, which works closely with Encore!.

    Now in its fifth year, Encore! Hartford aims to reduce unemployment in the corporate world, while increasing the workforce in Connecticut’s nonprofit sector, filling the talent void that it says exists throughout the state.

    “The ideal beneficiary is, in my mind, the age-50-and-up employee who came from a for-profit sector in a management position, a higher level position, and really has struggled to get back to work and wants to do something more meaningful, with more social impact and more community involvement,” explained Duncan.

    The program costs around $3,000, but the AARP and the state say they provide some students with grants.