Best Practices
August 29, 2011

Encore Career Institute Engages Baby Boomers in Job Retraining

In an effort to address the ever-changing and escalating workplace needs of baby-boomers, multiple California icons have joined together with former state insurance commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner to create Encore Career Institute. Based in Los Gatos, California, Encore is an online education startup seeking to reform education and expand employment opportunities. Poizner combines his entrepreneurial expertise with fellow co-founders Creative Artists Agency, the Sherry Lansing Foundation, and academic partner University of California at Los Angeles Extension.

Given the state of the economy, unemployment rates, and weakening 401(k) plans, the baby-boomer generation finds itself needing to remain in the workforce longer than perhaps initially projected. Encore will serve baby-boomers, individuals born from 1946 to 1964, with enhanced online education, complementing desired certificate programs with career counseling and career placement advising. While one goal of Encore is to provide its students the opportunity to take part in job-retraining courses, Encore will also enable students who want to gain expertise in a new field in which there is proven job growth. Encore Career Institute spokesman, Jarrod Agen, emphasizes the company’s effort to create a comprehensive experience: “Career counseling is built into the process; our students will sign up for the certificate and receive up-front counseling and assessment as well as career placement counseling on the backend.”

Encore leaders observed statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to create an intentional curriculum in high-demand areas where baby boomers’ life experiences and wisdom are assets, such as health care management, teaching, counseling, and environmental sciences. Students can receive UCLA-issued certificates in one- year programs such as global sustainability, web design, nonprofit management and special education.

The venture also brings companies to the conversation by encouraging employers to reexamine how they are employing baby boomers, Agen said, and ensure their skill sets are honed and strengthened rather than dismissed. 

Encore has secured $15 million in Series A venture capital funding from two Silicon Valley–based firms, InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures, and plans to launch the first certificate programs in fall of 2012.