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Encore Transitions

Dr. Kate Schaefers

Portrait of Dr. Kate Schaefers

Across the United States, a movement has been gaining prominence and momentum. Its appeal is that it’s a cause that affects everyone… eventually. As succeeding generations approach retirement age, the resounding question after a lifetime of schooling and employment is: “What next?” The response is the Encore Movement, exploring new parameters for communities and new opportunities for involvement as a large segment of the population shifts gears.

As the volunteer state president for AARP-MN and a founding board member of SHIFT, a Twin Cities nonprofit facilitating career change in the second half of life, Dr. Kate Schaefers has been at the forefront of the Encore Movement. Her multiple roles—career coach, educator, and Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative—provide her with a unique vantage point as the movement continues to grow. Recently, we spoke with Schaefers about her forthcoming sessions for LearningLife’s Encore Transition’s series in May. 

Please share an overview of the origin and intent of the "Encore Movement."

Gains in longevity and health mean that people are approaching the traditional “retirement” years with new expectations. People expect (and often want) to work in some capacity, but they often don’t want to continue working in the same way. Many seek work that reflects their values and ways they want to contribute—meaningful work that combines purpose and a paycheck.

The encore movement sees great potential in connecting people 50+ with social sector organizations that need their skills. By redeploying this talent within our communities, we can help nonprofits and social enterprises expand their impact.

What can you tell us about your involvement in LearningLife’s Encore Transitions program?

I am honored to be part of LearningLife’s Encore Transition core faculty. The curriculum takes an integrative approach to retirement planning. We know that work fulfills many needs beyond the paycheck. Work is a place where we accomplish goals, build social connections, and maintain a rhythm to our lives. Our identities are often interwoven with our work role. The retirement transition impacts every aspect of one’s life and relationships. By providing thought-provoking content and the space to delve into the complexities of this transition, the Encore Transitions program helps people navigate choices and build a post-career life that reflects their priorities.

Describe the intent of the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative.

The University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative (or UMAC) is a gap year for experienced professionals as they transition from career jobs into what’s next. Fellows come back to campus to learn, explore, and connect with a community of learners looking for meaningful work and social impact in the next phase of their lives. By blending academic learning with hands-on application, fellows try out new roles and identities, charting a course for the future, all within an intergenerational context.

Published on April 12, 2019