Photo by Mark Bonica, Flickr CC

For baby boomers who want to engage in some type of meaningful work when they retire, the transition can be an uncertain one, as many employers are unsure of how to put the skills and experience of retirees to use. University of Minnesota’s Phyllis Moen aims to help those entering this stage of life, putting her sociological work into practice. Moen relied upon her extensive work on the aging process (like her 2016 book) to found The Advanced Careers Initiative. The Star Tribune recently talked to Moen about her program, and she explains,

“My vision is to support boomers who are navigating transitions, provide a talent pool to meet community challenges and build a model for public universities to open their doors to people of all ages, providing transformational intergenerational learning.”

The program is in its inaugural year with 10 fellows — it plans to host 20 fellows each year in the future. These individuals range from age 50-72 and come from diverse professional backgrounds including psychology, law, and communications. Moen sees potential for the program to broaden how people use higher education as they get older:

“I’m very worried about this great pool of talent — this large baby boomer cohort, and those who are coming in their wake — just sitting on the sidelines of society. That’s our model of retirement: You exit one time, all at once, and then you go and have fun. Surveys show that 70 percent of older workers say they want to do some kind of engaging work in retirement, but most don’t do that because they don’t know what’s next and don’t know how to get there. These people are not young — but they’re not old, either.”